Posted on February 9, 2014
Posted on February 4, 2014
Whenever I hear of an artist dying, somewhere within those first few moments of disbelief my mind takes me straight to the fact that they will no longer be able to do “their thing” and we will never see them in another movie or play, hear another song, see another photograph etc. Every time I see something about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s passing it’s hard for me to grasp that he is gone. I took these photos of him while covering the 2009 Writer’s Guild East Awards Ceremony where Mr. Hoffman was presenting John Patrick Shanley, the author of Doubt, with an award. Before presenting Shanley with his award, Hoffman stood at the back of the theater about ten feet away from me. I’m never interested in meeting famous people but I remember wanting to quietly tell him that his performance in Synecdoche, New York was brilliant and that the movie made quite an impression on me, (the type of movie you think about for days after seeing). We exchanged glances a few times but ultimately I decided to be respectful of his space and not approach him. Regardless, out of all of the celebrities there that evening it didn’t matter to me, as far as I was concerned I was in the presence of one of the greatest actors of all time. We are fortunate to have had him for the few years we did but I must say that it is so fucking sad to think of someone so talented and so loved dying alone, ultimately killed by the demons he’s battled for many years. I keep thinking of the song “Trouble” by Cat Stevens and the 2008 New York Times Magazine profile of Hoffman where he said, “and I put on the Cat Stevens song, ‘Trouble.’ You know, ‘Trouble set me free.’ What a great song! I had forgotten. A lot of times, a song will let you down halfway through, but that song is great to the very end.”
Posted on August 27, 2013
Even though I was probably a bit rushed when placing my order at Starbucks these images really caught my eye, and I guess off the top of my head I would say personally it’s because I love portraits and color, but there is also a sense of a true moment being captured in the work that sparked my interest. So much so that I decided to contact the artist to see if she wouldn’t mind talking about her work a bit so that I could share it on my blog. The artist is eighteen-year old Lexi Karafelis who just graduated Conard high-school in West Hartford, CT and is now attending Pratt Institute on a presidential merit scholarship in graphic communications.
Lou Russo: Why do you paint?
Lexi Karafelis: “I guess you could say the reason I create is because I love the complicated individuality of each person and how it is shown on their face and in their body language.”
LR: Tell me about these four portraits.
LK: “The four portraits are a small series I decided to create in my spare time this summer, they’re all actors, but it was their characters that persuaded me to draw them. All of these characters are facing a dilemma in these moments, each person portrayed is dealing with them in individual ways.”
LR: Talk about your use of color and light in these portraits.
LK: “The colors of each portrait contributes to the portrayal of each individual. I used warmer colors to convey passion, and cooler hues to portray levelheadedness. The larger the spectrum of colors, the more complicated the emotions of that person may be.”
LK: “Lighting was also important. In these four portraits one side of the face is mostly illuminated with natural and opaque while the other remains dark, or is subject to unnatural tones. This is where I wanted to illustrate that everyone has their armor, but only certain people will let some of those dark tones leak through.”
Posted on July 18, 2013
Cool news for a hot summer day….The new website for www.LouRusso.com is up and now features the ability to fit the screen you’re viewing from to optimize the space and of course, the experience! Also, here are new images from The Hollywood Portrait Project. So many people to thank for their amazing work, a truly talented group! Makeup, hair and styling executed stunningly by Valerie Gengras and our models are Rachael Shaw Lamphier who works over at the Pita Group and her husband Dan. My wife Priscilla is an asset to any shoot and her eye for details and posing is priceless. This shoot was challenging and very rewarding, I love the process of shaping light to create just the right look. None of this would have been possible this time around without the perfect wardrobe from Vintage Lorry In North Branford. Lorry was instrumental in helping us find just the right clothing and accessories and her suggestions made all the difference. Enjoy the newly revamped website and I’ll be sure to post more portraits!
Posted on July 8, 2013
The 4th of July weekend here in Connecticut was hot & humid. How hot you ask? You could fry and egg on the sidewalk….not this one though. Here’s another one of my Aunt Netti’s awesome egg creations.
In 1778, General George Washington marked July 4th with a double ration of rum for his soldiers, and judging by the sounds coming from across the street at 3 a.m., so did my neighbors.
Posted on July 2, 2013
Although I was only at the Mermaid Parade for a few hours this year, it seemed to be the perfect amount of time. I don’t go for the actual parade, I arrived hours after the parade. The idea of photographing people “parading” down a street doesn’t interest me at all. But afterwards, as the worlds of spectacle and spectators intertwine on the boardwalk and side-streets, that’s when the true magic of the day happens. I never ask anyone to look at my camera and if they do, I rarely like it. I prefer to be invisible during my time there. That’s always been how I preferred it and how I did it when I first started photographing Coney Island 12 summers ago when I lived in nearby Manhattan Beach and would spend every weekend on the boardwalk listening to the soundtrack of Requiem for a Dream and shooting film. It’s great to see Coney Island back in full force after Hurricane Sandy and along with it being preserved I hope that it continues to grow and never loses its distinct mix of seaside excitement, artistic expression and the awesome people who make it what it is.
Posted on June 21, 2013
Taking the time to know yourself and follow your instincts leaves you open to many positive experiences. One of which is the path to creativity, a path that allows you to create for yourself and to shut out the second guessing voice that may otherwise limit your abilities. I’ve always taken great interest in the classic black and white films of the 30’s, 40’s and on. To me, the lighting plays the biggest role, helping to tell the story, creating the mood and shaping the experience that the director of photography and director want to convey to the viewers. The beautiful portraits of actors and actresses from Hollywood’s golden era captivates me equally as much, and perhaps in some ways even more since I love the experience of being able to sit with stills and take my time seeing all the details that help create the experience of that scene. I sometimes feel like a forensics investigator looking over the images for clues as to how things were done. I couldn’t be happier with the first few images from my current project which pays homage to the great Hollywood photographer George Hurrell, and many others. Studying their creations and paying attention to their lighting technique is like taking a trip back in time where I’d like to believe things where a lot less rushed. Many many thanks to the beautiful hair and makeup created by Amanda Russell and our wonderful model volunteers. More to come!