Kevin Russ in Malibu – Photo of Kevin by Will Tee Yang
You are based out of Portland Oregon, have you always lived there? If not where else have you lived and how long have been in Portland? Did you choose Portland because of its great natural light?
I grew up in Arroyo Grande, California. I moved to Portland about 10 years ago to go to college. I dropped out after a couple years to pursue photography and just stuck around.
How did you get involved in photography?
Music was my only creative outlet growing up and partly what I was studying in college. I had a lot of time on my hands during my freshman year and just decided to buy a little digital camera cause it looked like fun.
What other artists/photographers inspire you & why?
Anyone who is doing their own thing. Photographers who aren’t in my genre are usually more inspiring to me. Angel Dorr, a makeup artist and part-time photographer from Seattle, sees compositions and light like a painter. That’s how I see her work anyway. My images are definitely inspired by her photographs. Lydo Elise Le, from Arizona, (I think) sees light, colors and shapes in a way that’s inspiring.
You have a way of capturing simple moments and making them monumental. What are your favorite things to shoot?
Wildlife. You never know when you will find them so it’s always a treat. Then you never know how they will behave so those moments are always special even if you don’t get a good photograph.
A lot of your photographs highlight beauty in nature & it looks like you shoot primarily in natural light. This definitely creates a mood to your photographs and is reflective of your style. Is it a conscious choice or a choice of available lighting?
Right now it’s just what I’m inspired by so I shoot it. I also shoot with an iPhone and don’t carry lighting around with me.
Do you have a philosophy or reason as to why you only use iPhone photos on your Instagram?
It’s fun. It’s important for me to keep photography feeling like a hobby and shooting with an iPhone helps that a lot. I feel like anyone else with a camera phone capturing my day. I’m on the road a lot too and being able to shoot and process images on my phone makes me even more mobile.
What is your tip to taking photos on a camera phone?
Take advantage of the small size and shoot from different angles. Shoot a lot, share a few.
You’ve just been Instantly Framed! What photos would you select to have framed and why?
The tunnel view from Yosemite. It’s a classic view but this one I haven’t shared on any social media or printed this way.
Mt Rainier. I spent 10 years in the northwest before I ever properly saw this mountain but I took a stroll around the paradise area of the national park last August and was blow away by the beauty.
The abandoned railroad tracks were an unexpected find this fall while exploring the Skokomish Valley in Washington. I just really like the soft light coming through the trees and the moss everywhere.
The Salmon-Huckleberry wilderness in Oregon was another area that was long overdue for me to explore. I hiked out there in October and was able to catch a little bit of fall color near the fog-filled canyon.