Rankin is the first photographer to shoot an entire issue of S-Magazine, collaborating on nine shoots with renowned hair stylists. Today it’s the turn of Tina Outen. She talks to us about the rush of adrenaline she experiences when styling hair and how Hitchcock’s blondes inspired her ‘Frenemies’ shoot
TELL US ABOUT THE CONCEPT BEHIND TODAY’S SHOOT?
It was unique because Rankin gave us the opportunity to art direct the shoot. My idea was about two friends – well, two rival actresses who are auditioning for the same role. As it continues, one sees that the other is going to be more likely to get it than the other. So there’s a rivalry between them. And things start to go wrong. I really love iconic women and I really love very gorgeous, very lush, dressed, beautiful hair. So I wanted to showcase that aspect of my work but also think of an idea behind that to try and make that look modern and not too vintage.
HOW DO YOU MAKE IT MODERN AND RELEVANT?
For us, the twist was, as things started to go wrong, as the rivalry came across, we just started to loosen up the hair. Women today don’t set their hair, don’t spend all day like they used to. When women used to say, ‘I’m washing my hair tonight,’ they meant it. It was going to take them a whole evening – and that was them for the week. Women are really low-maintenance now. We get up and wash it and let it dry on the way. So I wanted to bring that element into the story where we let the hair become completely dishevelled. As the tension between the girls built, we tried to translate that into the hair. It became more distressed, more wild.
IT MUST BE GREAT TO BE ABLE TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE ART DIRECTION.
Totally. This is my first time art directing a shoot and now I really understand how much goes on before. It’s not just turning up and doing the hair on the day. It’s an obsession. I’ve had nothing else going through my mind. My computer’s full of references now.
YOU MENTION ICONIC WOMEN. WAS THERE A PERIOD IN HISTORY THAT ILLUSTRATES THAT BEST?
I’m very into Hitchcock, but even earlier than that. Today the girls were based around Ava Gardner and Lana Turner. The Hitchcock thing was the feeling behind having two blondes. Then I was watching The Third Man and seeing the lighting, the severity of her [Alida Valli as Anna Schmidt] hair. This kind of hair takes a long time to prepare so it’s not every day you get to go onto a shoot like this. Normally, it’s fast, fast, fast and your references are given to you.
WHAT WAS YOUR START IN HAIRDRESSING?
I’ve always been a hairdresser – since I was 16. My sister’s a hairdresser; she went to college. Of course, she used to do all sorts of things to my hair. So I did the same thing. I trained. Then I went to work in Kensington for Annie Russell and retrained with her. Then I moved to New York and worked in a salon for five years. I came back, was on an art team for a hairdressing firm. It was a great experience – training and education, developing your photographic looks. The hairdressing industry is a completely different world to this industry. I always wanted to do this – I just never knew how to get into it. I was in Harvey Nichols for four years with one group, then Daniel Hersheson came and opened up in there. His son was already doing session work and I met their agent and became first assistant to another session stylist. I was with him for four years. You’re married to them, basically. It was an amazing experience. It gave me the confidence and foundation to go off on my own.
HOW IMPORTANT IS PASSION?
You have to be passionate. Hair is really difficult. People get the idea that it’s a bit of a brush, bit of a blow dry. But it takes a long time to get to the point where you can do anything, with any hair type. Everybody’s different and what works on one hair type may not work on another. So you need to have that experience to be able to turn everything around. Especially if you want to work in fashion because you need to do it on the spot.
DO YOU NOTICE HAIR WHEN YOU’RE OFF DUTY?
Yes, all the time. You mainly notice bad hair, to be honest. The key with hair is finding the right products for you. You need the right shampoo, the right treatments. You need to understand your own hair for it to look good – especially since now we don’t do anything to it. You want a good result without putting much in. It’s harder now for people to find something that’s right for them. Most of the time you see fluff and you see dryness. You see static and you see grease. You see more of what isn’t working in hair. Then, occasionally, you’ll see someone walking down the street and be gobsmacked because she looks wicked, she looks amazing.
WHEN YOU SEE THAT, WHAT IS IT THAT WORKS?
Is there something that these people are getting right that’s consistent with others? I think it’s people spending time getting to know their hair and getting to know how their hair works for their face. It’s about your bones, your hair colour. It can improve your skin or drain your skin. It can make your eyes sparkle or it can make you look like you’ve been out all weekend.