We’ve all heard the cliché, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but senior Sean Russell takes it to the next level by applying it to his life and career aspirations. A communication major with a concentration in journalism and media, Russell works on campus as the associate photo editor for The Lamron. His interest in photography and visual media began in middle school when he would make and edit videos with his friends on a low-quality digital camera he had around his house.
A family trip to Italy two years ago, however, was what really made him serious about photography. “I spent a lot of time on the countryside taking pictures,” Russell said. “It’s what got me really excited about photography because the subject was so awesome you couldn’t take a bad picture.”
In addition to photography and videography, Russell noted that he enjoys hiking and has loved camping ever since childhood trips to Cape Cod, Massachusetts with his family.
“It’s a very meditative thing … it’s all about the natural beauty and the vastness of the view,” Russell said. He frequently brings his camera with him on hikes and documents the experiences.
With graduation around the corner, Russell has plans to bring his videography skills to the next level by filming a documentary in the southwest United States. The plan started informally between Russell and his roommate, who found an article about a proverbial treasure hidden in the mountains there. The “treasure hunt” has clues and hundreds of people have attempted to find it, but no one has ever successfully found anything.
Russell explained that the idea of embarking on the quest for treasure was originally a joke to him and his roommate, but formed into a fully developed plan to trek from northern New Mexico through Colorado to Wyoming—documenting every step of the way.
“I love video as an art … you can’t just say what’s happening, you have to depict it,” Russell said. This trip might sound unrealistic, but Russell has plans to incorporate his love of visual documentation into his future career, possibly as a news photographer.
Even if he incorporates photography into his career, he emphasized that he is determined not to lose the artistic and expressive side of it. “I feel like sometimes that can be lost in news photography,” he said.
“Storytelling has always been a big thing for me and that’s why I got into the journalism track and ultimately The Lamron,” Russell said. He also credited photo editor junior Zoe Finn for his involvement in The Lamron, explaining that she recruited him for the newspaper and that her positive presence at meetings encouraged him to run for associate photo editor.
“I love to use photography to tell a story and expose some aspect of something that’s going on … like event photography is about capturing the idea of something that’s happening through a medium that’s not too explicit,” he said. “It’s not like you can say what’s going on, you have to depict it visually.”
Russell also has an avid interest in listening to, recording and playing music. He occasionally DJs at parties and other events in Albany, New York and also plays acoustic guitar. He is a Taylor Swift fan and used to be in a band, but now listens and plays more recreationally.
If he can do anything after graduation, Russell noted that he would want to travel through Europe and document his adventures. “It’s the equivalent of creative non-fiction,” he said.