Kat Alyst’s fine art & fashion photography tells stories through a kaleidoscopic lens, with hidden meaning buried below the saturation.
Kat Alyst is no stranger to the online world. With nearly 40k followers, the self-made fashion photographer—turned artist—has connected with her followers for years, while continuing to strengthen her message. “After art school, I had no idea I would turn to photography. I wanted to focus on graphic design. Taking photos was just something I did for ‘fun’ with my best friend.”
Fate had other plans…
Alyst found herself on a unique path that led to a double life for a few years. “I got my first professional design job, and about a year later, broke off a highly abusive relationship. The person wouldn’t leave, so to feel safe; I would go out every night after work until 3:00 am—camera in hand—documenting nightlife. After my confidence grew, I would book up to six photoshoots every single weekend,” she recalls, “eventually everything became second nature, and I shot every night and weekend for over a year.”
She went on to have one foot in the art world and the other in the fashion world. Having art shows and publications that spanned nationally and internationally, her voice—and talent—took her further than she ever dreamed possible.
In the last few years, she reminisces more over the ever-changing path she was on and insists on being transparent and vulnerable. “I didn’t have connections in the beginning, so I was working 24 hours a day at times on projects and connections,” she shares. “It’s so important to choose quality over quantity, because eventually I burned myself out, and couldn’t get out of bed for almost a solid year. I did everything I could to hide it, in fear I wouldn’t get gigs that I aimed so high to get.”
Alyst traveled for over the span of a year, couch surfing and bunking with friends, shooting fashion, and creating art, until fate stepped in again. “You know those ‘Aha! Moments’? I woke up in the middle of the night and forgot where I was. I thought I was in another city, in a different house completely. I was stumbling around looking for my journal and couldn’t find it. I mentally out of it, and not feeling well ever. Since I could only find was my phone, I made my Twitter private and started manically tweeting about the mental health struggles I was experiencing. I knew I couldn’t be alone, but felt alone, and really scared to talk about it. I felt a calling to share a massive body of work to remind others feeling these ways that they’re really not alone. The first step was sharing, and not being scared of that affecting my future in the industry. So here I am.”
Whether you consider Alyst a fashion photographer, artist, or a total sweetheart… we are all huge fans of the brave “catalyst”! She’s one to watch in 2021 and beyond. View her portfolio here, and keep up with her on social media for real-time updates and posts when you search @katinthecloudz.
All Images © Kat Alyst