Dom Russo: Photography, Dance, & Inspiration
Hey Dom! How are you? Thank you for your time. Let’s start off by telling the readers about yourself.
heyyyyy! what’s up? I’m Dom. I’m 20 yrs old (about to turn 21) and I’m a dancer and photographer from New Jersey. I’m about to go into my senior year at the School of Visual Arts in NYC for my BFA in Photo/Video. I had the pleasure of spending this past year interning at SNL and Refinery29 and I LOVE dumplings!
How did you develop your passion for photography? When did you know you wanted this to be your profession?
My passion developed in high school when I decided to take an intro to photo class and I became obsessed with it. I don’t remember an exact “moment” when I knew but for some reason I just always just pictured myself being in a creative field and my chosen medium was always either photo or dance so it just clicked.
How would you describe your work in 3-5 words?
honest, energetic, meditative, statuesque
What about photography appeals most to you?
The concept that whenever you are holding a physical photograph is like you are holding a second of the world (or even less than a second) is something that I find BEAUTIFUL. Each photograph you take is extremely unique because it can never be recreated. That moment in time can never happen again, sure you can create something similar, but it will never be that exact moment. This entire concept BLOWS my mind every time I think about it. I also love how photographers are able to take images of things you see every day and give it an entirely new meaning. It’s abstracting reality.
What’s inspiring you right now?
music, nature, human connection… and avatar! 😉
What do you do when you feel creatively stuck?
When I’m creatively stuck I either try to revisit things that have sparked inspiration for me in the past or I try to completely switch up what I am looking at. For example, a lot of my inspiration stems from listening to music so if I’m in a rut I will usually try to start listening to different genres or different artists to get different parts of myself working. Another thing I do is research a topic I’m interested in, but don’t know much about. This is fun for me because it can help spark something or just add more knowledge into my brain, so either way, it’s a win, win.
The theme of our first issue is ‘INTROSPECTION’. -the examination of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings. Do you think art should result in self-reflection in the artist and/or the audience? What makes your art purposeful?
I personally feel like one’s art should have some sort of self-reflection because it makes it more impactful. I feel that each artist has a unique voice and point of view that should be shared with the world. But it’s funny because even if someone creates art without self-reflection in mind, it ultimately ends up being a reflection of that person anyway. This is because that idea is coming from their mind and is reflecting the way they think so it’s essentially them mirroring in some way.
What do you want an audience to take away from your work?
I want my work to evoke emotion in others whether it’s good or bad because then it becomes a conversation and not just something to stare at. I really want my work to inspire others to take action and create so that the art world keeps evolving into something greater and more diverse.
Being that you are a dancer and an all-around creative person, how do you fuse all of your artistic talents together?
It’s strange because I will come up with an idea for one project that is geared more towards a specific field and then somehow everything else will just fuse in naturally. I feel like once I get my brain going I can’t really stop it. When the ideas start flowing, layers are added on top of more layers and before I realize it I have a whole production! haha! But I also love that this happens because each element that enters the project is just adding another dimension to it which I feel is an important element to have.
Who are some of your influences?
David Bowie, Erykah Badu, FKA Twigs, Grimes, Keith Haring, Nina McNeely, Pendulum People, Nadine Olmo. All of these artists have influenced me greatly because they are breaking barriers and don’t really fit in a “genre”; they are just simply artists sharing themselves. They all inspire me to just be myself and not try to fit into a mold because being yourself is enough.
What career achievements are you most proud of? What have been some of your favorite moments working and shooting?
I’m most proud of the two photo internships I had the privilege of doing this past year. I got the opportunity to work at Saturday Night Live and Refinery29 which was amazing because I got to see 2 very different sides of the photography industry. My favorite moment from SNL was shooting behind the scenes for the sketches and just physically being behind the scenes. I got to see all the pieces to the puzzle interact and see how much detail goes into a production like that. Plus the cast is HILARIOUS which is a bonus for me personally haha! My favorite moment with Refinery29 was assisting one of my bosses with a still life shoot she did with sex toys, which was both hilarious and really fun. We were just playing around a lot in the studio and throwing ideas back and forth. I enjoyed this because I haven’t really got to do that with a still life shoot before.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? What are some dos & don’ts for new photographers?
Stop waiting for someone to “discover” you or to give you your “big break”. Take control over your own destiny and don’t wait for someone else to approve it. The only person who has control over you is you. Don’t try to be the next version of someone else. Sure you can have people who inspire you, but you have to see what exactly they do that interests you and then be able to digest it. Once you process that information, use that to discover yourself and your own voice. And when you find this voice don’t be afraid to scream with it.
What else are you up to? Any upcoming projects? Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
Recently I’ve been mainly focusing on myself and my own projects, and with this, I’ve been working on new mediums/techniques to play with to make some of these ideas come to life. So I’ve just been mainly learning and experimenting. As far as my future goes I see myself working hands-on with artists in the music industry and just making art in general.
Is there anything else you want us to know about you and your lovely work?
I feel like when it comes to most photographers, they will look to other photographers or photographs for inspiration/guidance, but for me, I always look to music. From my dance background, I am trained to get visions/feelings from listening to pieces of music and as dancers, we are expected to hear something and emote right then and there. I find that it is important to find inspiration in other mediums besides the one you are always working with because it can get your brain thinking in different ways and can unlock areas you never thought existed.