Every once in a while, you come across a story that blows your mind and makes you think of all the excuses you’ve made up for not putting enough effort into your work and creative drive. At least that’s what happened to me when I stumbled upon this video portrait of Kevin Russ. His story is kind of movie like, and if you’ve ever seen the film Into the Wild , you’ll recognize a few things from there. Kevin has been a photographer for a few years now, and while he might have started out shooting portraits, nowadays he spends most of his time in his car, travelling all across America, shooting majestic landscapes and wildlife…with his phone.
Photo © Kevin Russ
The first question that comes to mind is why would he do that when there is all that sweet gear that he could use to make himself look badass and keep at a safe distance? Kevin’s reasons are so obvious that it kind of hit me in the face. He DOES own a DSLR but he rarely uses it ( possibly only when shooting bears). He uses his phone simply because it’s right there. All the time. Like anyone with a smartphone, he can take photos, process and upload them from the same device. While all this seems obvious to you and me, here’s where I see the irony: because he doesn’t have to spend any time behind a computer, he can use most of it to keep shooting and stay on the move. It’s actually a lot like back in the film days, for those of us who still remember that medium.
So what is there to learn from Kevin?
That not having the best and latest equipment should NEVER be any kind of excuse for staying at home and not doing something to make your work better. Most of the cool, creative things you will set out to do. demand some sort of sacrifice. Kevin sleeps in his truck most of the time.
Be humble and keep doing what you love. Russ’s Instagram followers are a lot and I believe one of the reasons he’s become such a hit is that he kept doing what he loves. No matter what kind of subjects you’re shooting, if you’re not putting passion into it, it will show sooner or later.
Love your surroundings. I’m not trying to put out an environmental message here, I don’t even shoot landscapes that much , but it’s important to open our eyes to what’s out there. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, you should know the most beautiful places your country has to offer.
You can find more of Kevin’s great work here.