Profile: Elena Guzman, Makeup Artist

Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Elena at work preparing a model for the Exalt New York Fashion Gala

Elena at work preparing a model for the Exalt New York Fashion Gala

If you ever want to achieve quality results as a photographer shooting portraiture or fashion, or as a model either developing your portfolio or for a professional shoot, you'll need to work with a good makeup artist. One who posseses a look and style you can appreciate while having an open mind for collaboration. A trusted professional is extremely important - someone you can go to in a pinch with a concept and can deliver on your idea. I've worked with Elena Guzman both on larger projects as well as more intimate photo sessions; the experience and results were equally impressive. I sat with Elena recently to get an understanding of her past, what's on the immediate horizon and where she's headed in the future.

She is a young, energetic and dynamic fashion professional who came to New York from Russia in 2010. Hired by Macy's in the Lancôme department, she understood makeup was her career path. Taking classes in one of New York's best schools, The Nina Mua Makeup Academy, she is a certified makeup artist. She cites Serdar Kambarov and Mario Dedivanovic as a pair of her influences. Elena's understanding of color concepts and design aesthetics run deep, and are the key to emphasizing the beauty of a woman.

As the fashion and makeup industries are extremely competitive spaces, she places a premium on her professionalism. I had firsthand experience into her focus and expertise, as we worked the Exalt New York Fashion Gala at the Plaza Hotel New York this past February. Shooting behind the scenes during the model's preparation, I took note of her precise attention to details and steady hand. There was never a doubt as to why Exalt had chosen Elena to prep the models who were showcasing Gerda Truubon's elegant designs. Her style perfectly fit the show's design, fashion and the model's appearance.

Her approach for success during a working engagement is to build a comfortable relationship with her clients, taking into consideration their needs, style and big picture for a look. Having witnessed her working with the models, it was easy to see it was a calm experience for everyone before a signature event. An important nuance, as the client needs to be at ease and relaxed while the artist is at work. It also carries forward during a shoot, as the model is relaxed, confident and eager to put her look on display to be captured for her audience.

In Elena's words, "As people say, “You have the talent.” Therefore, I have been invited and selected to attend New York Fashion Week. I just love what I am doing; It makes me feel so happy and proud of myself when I see these positive emotions on my clients faces once makeup done." She is satisfied with her career progression, and her dream is to ascend in the fashion industry. Her immediate goals are to continue on in future fashion shows and Fashion Week, as well as with Red Carpet shows that highlight this prestigious time of year for the industry. Her main career goals are to blossom with her own standalone business, along with a wedding salon and even her own makeup school.


As busy as life gets, and in as many directions you can be pulled there are always moments that quiet down.

After a mad rush over the last week and a half, I've arrived at my desk amid a cold, windy rainstorm this morning. The staff around me have not yet arrived, so all that's audible is the relaxing, understated hum of the cooling system. This is a sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle lately, which is good as far as Photography goes - busy is always good. So it's time to take advantage of this break away from the action for a few days.

In looking over some recent work done lately with the benefit of silence, I can't help but think of my father standing here. What would be his own thoughts and observations as to where I've come from, what I've done and where I am going with this. My personal project work with Street Photography and other portrait work would be thrown in front of him for critique. As well, I'd ask for simple advice from him base on his decades of experience. "WWVD"... What would Vic do? And no doubt, he'd be enlisted to take on some of the post-production as he was an early adopter of all things Adobe... as it was his trade many years ago.

The silence takes me through recent works, dealings with collaborators and clients. How the sum of these experiences will shape how to go about defining my direction, future collaboration, getting involved in local arts and of course, honing photography skills.

At the end of the day, it's important to reflect a little. A small break in the action to help re-focus.