Russ Rowland: Through the Looking Glass
Photographer Russ Rowland is continually seeking to create portraits that are unique and painterly. I’m featuring more than one series, the first featuring portraits shot through Russ’ shower door and created without the use of photoshop. Other portrait explorations follow. I discovered Russ’s work when jurying the Griffin Museum’s 20th Annual Juried Exhibition and appreciated his variety of approaches to capturing portraits. For more about Russ, Yvette Meltzer interviewed Russ for F Stop Magazine in July.
In Russ’ words:
I never intended to be a photographer. It happened inadvertently. And very late in life.
However, it probably started with Picasso and Dr. Seuss.
Grew up fascinated by complex and playful paintings and drawings of all kinds – in books and museums. Works by Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Escher, Pollack, Hopper, Dali — even those in Dr. Seuss books — have been with me my entire life. They are probably the bedrock of what fascinates and propels my visual explorations.
Not surprisingly, I regularly refer to photos as “paintings.”
No image captivated and frightened me more than this one:
Most of my professional career was spent doing consumer and tech PR at agencies in Manhattan. I started working on a camera account around 2005 and began kicking around with a small digital point-and-shoot just for fun. Little by little I found that I really was not only loving photography, but started to sense I had a visual point of view.
In 2010 I got my first real DSLR and took my first photography course at ICP in New York City.
Since then photography has became my life 24-7. I pretty much eat, sleep and breath photography…and I love it. I work as much as I can (theater, corporate and life events, interiors) and shoot for my own projects all the time.
I got into photography to get away from words.
As an adopted child I’ve always had a sense of being other or apart and a questioning relationship to what really forms/constitutes identity and family.
Play and experimentation are a big part of my work.
Love giving taken portraits a second life as source material.
The recent series (Through the Looking Glass and Force of Nature) were carried out in similar ways:
— Used a defined, repeated process that welcomed anomaly and surprise.
— Performative, the images were found as the process unfolded
— In camera, the resulting image is captured in real time
— Theater influence
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