Skift Take

Whatever your views about "iPhonenography" or Instagram as as a creative expression -- I've always called Instagram "Instacrap" -- the value of these tools will never match the judgement of the eye behind them, and you have to appreciate the purity of that purpose.

Kevin Russ, a professional photographer traveling through the American West for the last year and photographing the elemental vastness, the wildlife and the poignant, has been doing it through the most elemental of digital tools: iPhone + Instagram.

He started a few years ago shooting portraits and posting on MySpace and became popular there, and now posts on Tumblr and also on Instagram, where he has a large retinue of fans, almost 17K strong. He has been making a living mostly through selling $16 prints of his photos.

Now in a short documentary about his traveling life by fellow photog Max Monty, Russ talks about his start, his creative process, why he uses Instagram and iPhone almost exclusively these days instead of a DSLR.

His reason for using iPhone: it is always there, he doesn’t have to lug around anything larger, and he can process the photos right there instead of going inside on a computer to do it, and do what he likes best: be outdoors. As for the tools he uses on the phone, he describes it on his Tumblr: the iPhone camera, external apps like VSCO Cam & Afterglow for post processing and then uploads to Instagram.

The 7:30 min documentary, below: 

Kevin Russ | A Traveling Photographer from Max Monty on Vimeo.

Kevin Russ has been a huge inspiration to me since about 2005 when I saw some of his pictures on flickr. Over the years, he has just become such an incredible and focused photographer, ranging from doing portraiture now to landscape photography. He is one of the most humble men you will ever meet and really shows that there is no secret to photography or getting an incredible image.

Kevin has been traveling throughout the great American west shooting landscape and wildlife solely with his iPhone 4s and 5. He rarely pulls out his DSLR unless it’s for a bear or bear cub where he can’t get close. This is just a small peek into his life as a traveling photographer and some stories that come along with it.


“Robin Won” – Unseen Music
“Far Away” – Jose Gonzalez

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Tags: instagram, iphone, videos

Photo credit: All pics collage, courtesy Kevin Russ' Tumblr.

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