COLOR MURALS are a series of panoramic photographs from the 80's in which Russell allows the illustrative tradition that he had been working with for years to drop away. In leaving behind narrative in favor of visual purity, Russell invokes the evocative language of abstraction. The movement of the camera, the subject and the element of time all become choreographic collaborators in the invention of imagery.

Red Car Panoramic

Red Car;  Boston, 1980 

Every day for three years I walked from my apartment near Fenway Park in Boston to my job as a laboratory technician in chemical research at Polaroid in Cambridge, crossing the Charles River on the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge. One unique characteristic of a rotating lens panorama camera is the elongation of a subject moving in the same direction as the lens. The vertical stripes of the sidewalk railing on the car are interrupted in front of the front wheel by my own shadow, steadying myself against a light pole.  -LR


County Fair; Maine, 1980

The unique vernacular of rotating lens cameras resulting from the movement of the lens and the camera was something I explored at amusement parks, where I rode roller coasters until I was nauseous. For photographers, neon lights at dusk are like red flags waved at bulls.  -LR


Callahan Tunnel; Boston, 1980

Photographing while driving was an irresistible challenge, though working with the compositional elements as they flash past demands nerves of steel. Rotating lens panorama cameras, with their 140-degree wide-angle-of view –much, much wider than any wide-angle lens – produce extreme manifestations of the optical effect of the enlargement of the foreground and diminution of the background. When traveling at highway speeds it’s necessary to wait until the very last moment before making the picture. The red light on my dashboard indicates a low fuel level.  -LR

Disney World Panoramic

Disney World; Florida, 1980

Because I’m traveling at the same speed as the cars in the photograph, they are in sharp focus though the background is blurred. And the horizon is curved because the cars are going up and down as they go around.  -LR