Though Russ has spent the past 10 years traveling the world, his career behind the lens truly began when he moved from Alabama to the Southern California surf Mecca, San Clemente, at age eleven. He quickly developed a passion for surfing and, as ambitious groms will do, aspired to one-day make a career out of it. Well, surfing turned out to be a bit harder than Russ had anticipated- " I sucked at surfing," he recalls. Though he got pounded at the San Clemente Pier more often than not, his passion for surfing remained at high tide. One day, while flipping through a dog-eared copy of Surfing Magazine, it hit him: there was another path he could take to get paid to travel the world and surf the sweetest waves- a surf photographer!
In 1995, as a motivated high-schooler, Russ focused his energy on learning the technique behind traditional black-and-white photography. One problem: his school, St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, didn't offer any photography classes! Undeterred, Russ approached the chair of the fledging Visual Arts Department and expressed his desire to learn the basics. A unique independent-study program was tailored for Russ, but he and his faculty advisor had to look off-campus for proper facilities. Once they found a darkroom to rent in downtown San Juan Capistrano, Russ began snapping away with his trusty SLR. He hasn't stopped since.
After college, Russ landed a job at Surfing Magazine, the same publication that fostered his early dream of becoming a professional photographer. There, Russ worked closely with Surfing's longtime photo editor, the legendary Larry "Flame" Moore. Russ' natural talent and energy impressed the veteran lensman, so Flame took the ambitious young man under his wing; helped by Flame's invaluable tutelage, Russ worked his way up from "scrub intern," as he called it, all the way to Senior Staff Photographer.
Currently Russ has been able to take the wealth of knowledge Flame has passed on to him and has converted it into a prosperous career. Now his dreams are a reality. Russ finds himself working in all of the far corners of the globe. From the exotic sands of Indonesia to the rivers of rocks in the Falkland Islands, Russ has been able to capture the visions of his dreams.