Russ began photography by working for a commercial photographer during his last year of high school, learning to work precisely and efficiently with multiple formats. He received his M.A. in photography from the University of Texas at Austin. The University of St. Andrews, Scotland, conferred a Ph.D. on him for his dissertation “The Soft-Focus Lens and Anglo-American Pictorialism,” the definitive study of the technical development of these lenses and their early use.
Academic teaching experience includes courses at University of Texas-Austin and for Ohio Wesleyan University. He and Tillman have taught pinhole workshops and soft focus workshops together and he has presented seminars for The Royal Photographic Society and camera clubs in Scotland.
The 8x10 Century Camera and Pentax 6x7 are his most used cameras but he shoots all the way through 35mm and digital. In addition to soft-focus lenses, Russ works with other “imperfect” image methods such as pinhole, zone plate and “toy” cameras. He was on the Board of The Pinhole Resource for more than a decade and was published in the Pinhole Journal.
Dr. Young owns a large collection of soft focus lenses and will bring several of the iconic large format lenses to the workshop for inspection and use, including Verito, Imagon, Pinkham & Smith, Struss Pictorial, Spencer-Portland, etc. Cameras suitable for classic large format soft-focus will be available to illustrate appropriate camera platforms for various lenses. Lectures and demonstrations will include history, optical theory and practical application.
He has been recognized by The Royal Photographic Society as a Fellow and also has received the same honor from The National Stereoscopic Association.