Through the Lens of Alana Tyler Slutsky
Inspired by graphic elements and bold use of color, beauty photographer Alana Tyler Slutsky breathes new life into cosmetic products.
Inspired by graphic elements and bold colors, beauty photographer Alana Tyler Slutsky breathes new life into cosmetic products through tesselated composition and creative use of texture. She’s shot products for NARS, Credo Beauty, and Mehron, and her work has been featured in publications internationally including Ladygunn, Cosmopolitan Germany, Bullett and Harper’s Bazaar Russia. BWB had a chance to get behind Alana’s lens and learn more about her process and personal beauty product favorites.
How did you discover your passion for beauty photography?
When I had graduated from college, I was working as a retoucher. I specialized in fashion and beauty retouching, but was really drawn to the beauty side of things. I noticed when shooting that I had an affinity for photographing beauty.
While I was supposed to be shooting fashion, I continuously found myself zooming up and into faces and had to remind myself “This is a fashion editorial. Shoot the fashion.” It was kind of a natural progression to make the move to shooting beauty exclusively. And having that retouching background really helped to elevate my work.
If you’re not having fun with what you do, why bother doing it in the first place?
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Lately I’ve been inspired to breathe new life into photographic concepts that we’ve seen a million times before. One example of this is the “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” series.
How many times have you seen an image of straight across bangs covering a model’s eyes and then a bold lip color? Countless, I know. It was this overdone concept that inspired the mini-series.
My creative team and I took the idea and turned it on it’s head by poking fun at it. Taking the straight across bangs and turning them into shapes. Taking the “bold statement lips” that you always see done in this concept and actually turning them into statement lips. It was fun! And if you’re not having fun with what you do, why bother doing it in the first place?
Stylist: Jess Mederos
Just because there is no model involved, doesn’t mean the product can’t give off the same sort of emotion or attitude as a branded beauty shot. You just have to get creative!
Your still product photos are so innovative! It must be difficult to give products personality. How do you approach this kind of challenge?
To be fair, each product already has it’s own personality based on it’s branding. It’s just my job to capture it. I think that my personal style – heavy contrast, bold color, playing with shadow – helps animate the inanimate.
Every time I’m given an assignment, the first thing that I do is heavily research the brand. Who are they? What is their stance? And that is what you see coming through in the product imagery. Taking little bit of who the overall company is and injecting it into a still image. Just because there is no model involved, doesn’t mean the product can’t give off the same sort of emotion or attitude as a branded beauty shot. You just have to get creative!
Stylist: Jess Mederos
Can you share a great memory from a project you worked on?
One of my favorite things on-set is seeing a project evolve into itself. Every shoot is a creature of it’s own and watching how things come together organically is beautiful! When you’re working with teams of people who are brilliant in their own right, it is always exciting to let the creative process happen. Everyone collaborating and making sure no one voice is too strong is key. It’s a rule of thumb that I carry from the set into life – be open and willing to hear people out, because you never know where it’s going to take you!
What are some current beauty trends and what styles did you notice in the last fashion week?
Glitter, Rock n’ Roll, and an unapologetic use of color that makes my heart flutter!
What are some of your favorite beauty products?
Being always on the run, I tend to keep my makeup relatively simple and my skin healthy. Because of that, I’m a big fan of the 10-step Korean skincare routine. (And who doesn’t enjoy a sheet mask?!)
At the moment, I’m loving: Banila Co. “Clean It Zero Classic” Oil Cleaner, Missha “Time Revolution First Treatment Essence” and Son & Park “Beauty Water.” Once my skin is on point, give me some black mascara and my NARS “Cruella” Velvet Matte Lip Pencil and I’m ready to conquer the world!
See more of Alana’s work here:
Carly is a freelance designer and creative professional in NYC. Her fine arts degree allows her to channel her creative intuition into everything she does from work with artist Jeremyville and designing at VH1 to writing for BWB.