Originally printed in platinum, ARTIST SEEKING MODELS is an intriguingly complex suite of photographs featuring Russell himself situated amidst various nude models in distinctive and international locations. This lush body of work represents a departure from Russell's journalistic photography and a plunge into an imagined and self reflective world. Exhibited at The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, The Ute Stebich Gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts and the John Stevenson Gallery in New York City, ARTIST SEEKING MODELS was also published as an exclusive artist's book in 2001. Distinguished art and gender studies critic, Marlena Donohue, wrote about this body of work in her poignant essay: The Seer and the Seen.

 

Palazzo; Venice, 2000

I posted a notice – Artist Seeking Models – at the Accademia di Belle Arti and one of the women who responded said, “Maybe my boss will let us work in his art-filled palazzo.”  It was January and, although the heat had been turned on in anticipation of the shoot, the women are standing on small towels because the floor was so cold. One of them bumped the pedestal on the left and, like a Charlie Chaplin comedy, it swayed back and forth threatening to drop the priceless piece onto the floor. I rushed over and barely managed to prevent that from happening.   -LR

 
 
Orchard Nude
 

Orchard; Richmond, Massaschusetts, 1997

3,500 apple trees in bloom, along with countless dandelions, made this a beautiful place to work. The model was wonderfully expressive.   -LR

 
 
Quai d'Orsay
 

Quai d'Orsay; Paris, 2000

I asked a friend in Paris if she could find some women to model for me when I arrived and VOILA! – she found seven, and a gorgeous home on the Seine.   -LR

 
 
Birch Tree
 

Birch Tree; Lee, Massachusetts, 1997

The model must’ve thought I was crazy when we canoed a few miles to an island. I moved the camera at the beginning of the exposure, hence the wavy lake on the left, then held the camera still while the lens panned the model, then moved the camera again as the lens panned the right side of the frame.  -LR

 
 
Trailer
 

Trailer; Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 1998

Thinking it would add interest, I positioned the car to have the trailer in the shot. Balancing the camera on the dashboard and imagining the frame – I couldn’t see through the viewfinder – in a last-minute attempt to bring the picture together, I asked the model to put her hand on my shoulder. Frequently, what makes a photograph work, after roughing out the shot, is the last directive for a gesture or expression.   -LR

 
 
Forsythia
 

Forsythia; Boston, 1998

We were in the beautiful Arnold Arboretum and as we were making this picture, a police car drove past – right behind the brilliant yellow forsythia. It slowed almost to a stop, then drove on.   -LR

 
 
Avenue Alphand
 

Avenue Alphand; Paris, 2000

At one point, I looked out the window across the tiny street and saw an old woman standing in her window looking out. She was stark naked.   -LR

 
 
58th Street
 

East 58th Street; New York City, 2001

Working inside, I usually had the camera set on the longest exposure, which took the lens fully sixty seconds to pan from left to right, enabling the model and me to work out a first position and a second position; once the lens pans past, you can move behind the tripod. “Pretend you’re a woodland nymph,” I said. She burst out laughing. “You won’t believe this but I just pulled “Midsummer Night’s Dream” off the shelf!"    -LR

 
 
Zurich
 

Rossligasse; Zurich, 2001

Inspired by my cramped hotel accommodation as a venue for a panorama, and the model whom I hadn’t met and who took a two-hour train to the shoot, I spent hours the night before working out an idea, which included removing the bathroom door from its hinges. During the sixty second panning of the lens from left to right, we both changed position after it went by us; she moved into view in the mirror and I moved out.   -LR

 
 
Meadow
 

Meadow; Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1998

Thinking about Edward Weston’s great photographs of nudes on sand dunes, with the wonderful contrast between the textures of the model’s skin and the sand, I staged this photograph in a meadow, which provided a similarly interesting contrast between the model’s skin and the grass.   -LR