A Snapshot of John Russo

An ethereal photo of Christina Aguilera shot in black and white, as compelling and elusive as Marlene Dietrich in the 30s. Another photograph: verdant mountains surging upward from vivid aqua seas, a tropical paradise with beauty that exceeds the boundaries of the natural world. John Russo has the gift of conveying a complicated personality or an experience within the two-dimensional frames of a single photograph. Russo will share his expertise with guests on Wind Surf’s April 17, 2011, Lisbon to Barcelona voyage, discussing the art of taking incredible travel photographs and celebrity portraiture. Until then, here is a snapshot of John Russo:

1. When did you get started in photography?

When I was about 15.

2. What was your very first camera?

A Kodak Disc camera.

3. If you could photograph anyone in the world right now, who would it be?

Bill Gates. He is truly a genius. Through his philanthropy he is changing lives every day and making the world a better place. He is iconic.

4. More than making your subjects look beautiful, you capture their essence in photographs. How do you pick up such subtle traits?

I guess I was born with it. (lol)

5. Do you find portraiture and landscape photography equally challenging

They each have their own challenges, but portraits are a little complex.

6. From your book 100 “Making a Difference,” it is obvious that philanthropy is very important to you. Which charitable causes and organizations are especially near and dear to your heart?

St. Jude, amfAR, Make-a-Wish Foundation and Smile Train.

7. You’ve made a name for yourself by photographing celebrities. Has the camera ever been turned on you? Is it harder for you to be in front of the camera, rather than behind it?

I have been photographed for features in many magazines. Just recently in Esquire. Too be honest, I shoot myself with my camera on the timer. I give the magazines the images I think best represent me. I am a total control freak!

8. What tricks do you have for making a person look better in a photograph, or to get them to open up and be natural?

Laughter is the best policy. Once you make them laugh, they are all yours.

9. What destinations have you particularly enjoyed photographing?

I love Italy, a town called Ravello is my favorite. Bora Bora was also one of my favorite places to photograph.

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