Scott Slusher has become a recognizable staple and figure in the western industry. But what you might not realize is that he’s just as easily recognizable outside of it. We know him for the work he’s done with Vexil, Cowboys & Indians Magazine, Yeti, Best Hat Store, and more. However, his talents have graced other brands like Mary Kay, Prada, and even front and center on a billboard in Times Square.
You would think someone of this stature and accomplishment would have had a camera in their hand since almost birth. Scott’s story is much different than that. He remembers his dad being a hobbyist photographer and always handing a camera his way and even being on the newspaper staff in high school. His time on staff though was spent as a writer…or hanging out in the darkroom with friends. He knew being in there felt right, but wasn’t really sure where to go with that.
Having grown up deeply rooted in the agriculture industry, Scott was no stranger to the lifestyle. He had one grandad that was a farmer and another that was a rancher and quickly made it his goal to be horseback every day no matter what he decided to do in life.
Fast forward to the college years, Scott actually did not go to school for photography. He briefly attended OSU but then transferred to the Art Institute of Dallas at 23 where he met his wife, Lisa. Lisa was the president of the fashion department and Scott became a staple at the weekly meetings and all the events. He was quickly noted as the person everyone could count on whether it be moving equipment with his truck or just being for sure he would show up. He became immersed in this world and close friends with Lisa and her brother who were both stylists. About the time Scott and Lisa started dating, it came time for Scott to choose an internship.
In 2003, a young Scott was on set with Lisa and her mentor and the topic of his internship came up. It was pointed out that there were already enough stylists in the family and maybe photography would be a good fit. After that, Scott reached out to two commercial photographers and one of them offered him an unpaid internship. Scott started learning from the ground up about equipment, what it took to be a photo assistant, lighting, everything. To sweeten the pot, the mentor had a ranchette that Scott was no stranger to given his agriculture background. The two became buds and were able to build a mentorship and friendship that not many get to experience.
Scott’s mentor was a busy man and always on the phone. The first assistant would always get to take the camera and it eventually got to the point that Scott was able to do that as well. After three years of working there, he began to seek out other photographers so he could see how other people work and learn more than one way of doing things.
He started shooting his own clients which isn’t something that just happens. Scott said, “A photoshoot needs hair, makeup, a stylist, things you don’t really think about that happen behind the scenes. In the industry, you’ll meet people on set that you like and you’ll work on random concepts for test shoots. We would all work together and people would see the model tests which were great but oversaturated. I wanted something I could shoot on my own”
Scott remembers, “My buddy up in Gainesville had some cattle and needed a little help. I thought, “Should I take my camera? But how would that even work?”” He did and it worked. Soon after that he spent a week at the R.A. Brown Ranch with his friend Jeff. He borrowed a horse, trailer, a saddle, and it was the perfect storm. Jeff had all sorts of ideas and Scott captured everything. Once he got back to the studio and showed his studiomates some of the photos, they were in awe. Scott entered them in contests and started posting them to the newest social media app, Instagram. He began to get a following and to be recognized for his work. The world was telling Scott that he was doing a good thing.
Scott is very well-known, specifically in the western industry. Years ago, he met Cory Wiese at Yeti which led to the introduction of Shawn Wiese at Vexil. Snapchat was new at that time and Shawn asked Scott to run the Vexil account for a weekend. Before long, Vexil was making a line of “Slusher’s” hats.
Outside of the western industry, some of Scott’s clients include Mary Kay, The Guardian Newspaper, Prada, and Karl Lagerfield just to name a few. When asked about having his images on the video billboards in Times Square NYC for Mary Kay, Scott said, “Achieving the goals I’ve set for myself is very fulfilling. But when I achieve something that I never even dreamed of, that is just beyond.”
Instagram - @slusherphoto
Article by Katie Armstrong @thekatielynn