BIO

Russell Frederick is of Panamanian heritage born in the bustling multicultural neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn. Russell is well known domestically and internationally for his compelling twenty year documentary photography on Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. His keen understanding of the human condition informs his vision on the African diaspora. Beyond photographing, Russell dedicates significant time to mentoring youth. Since 2011, he has been the Men's Director for the Kings Against Violence Initiative Intervention Program based in Brooklyn. In 2018, CNN Heroes recognized the nonprofit organization for their outstanding community service. In addition, 2018 was filled with more blessings when KAVI bestowed a grand distinction in asking Russell to join its Board of Directors. Mr. Frederick's compassion and commitment to young people is deeply rooted to growing up in a single parent home but living on a block where everyone looked out for each other. Mr. Frederick's mother, grandparents and uncle raised him to the best of their abilities but when family was not present it was the community of wise men, women and friends that filled in the blanks to make sure he lived up to his potential and kept him protected. His journey to becoming a photographer first started when he started doing graffiti as a child. At the time his mother told him “art is a hobby, not a career.” Mr. Frederick studied architecture for two and half years and then went to nursing school for a year and felt unfulfilled with these traditional forms of employment. In 1997, desperate to find his purpose Russell picked up a camera and found joy, passion and the fulfillment he had been searching for his whole life. Through photography, Mr. Frederick learned he could do all the things that were important to him (education, empowerment, activism, inspire others, author history, create art, fashion, travel, meet new people and work for himself). A self taught photographer with little formal training (one class at I.C.P.), Frederick has catapulted from an unfamiliar name to being sought after for his signature photographic style. He has worked for twenty years plus primarily shooting in black & white film medium format for his documentary documentary projects. He has photographed men, women and children from Bed Stuy, Brooklyn to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He has been the recipient of awards and grants from the Gordon Parks Foundation, the Innovation Fund, the Open Society Foundation, the New York Foundation of the Arts, the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Urban Artist Initiative.

Fall 2018, Mr. Frederick will shoot for Annapurna Films Oscar Awards winning director Barry Jenkins for his latest release “If Beale Street Could Talk.” In the spring, he was assigned by Numero Homme Berlin Magazine to photograph legendary fashion Harlem designer Dapper Dan and his collaborative luxury line with Gucci. The magazine will hit the shelves in the U.S. November, 2018. In the summer of this year, Mr. Frederick curated Kamoinge’s internationally acclaimed and NYTimes endorsed “Power & Grace: Black Women” exhibit paying homage to black women in the prestigious National Arts Club. The exhibit and catalogue will be traveling in the coming year to San Antonio, Texas. Piggybacking these successful ventures this year was also an invitation to exhibit photos with Spike Lee for his short film series “Da Republic of Brooklyn.” In 2017, Russell had highlights making the front page of the NYTimes, working with filmmaker Spike lee for his Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have it” and teaching a photography workshop in Brownsville, Brooklyn to high school students in the historically black community. Since 2016, Mr. Frederick was voted Vice President of the historic African and African American photography collective Kamoinge Inc. The photography not for profit was founded in Harlem, NY 1963 to nurture and develop black photographers to create images countering destructive stereotypes. In 2015, the United Nations Educational Science Cultural Organization sponsored Russell to teach a series of photography workshops in South Sudan and Ethiopia focusing on themes of community, photojournalism, documentary photography, photo essay development, portraiture and conflict sensitive reporting. The endeavor was an epic success reaching over two hundred and fifty Africans. At the close of 2015, Mr. Frederick co-produced a media workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia featuring a team of African American journalists, filmmakers and photographers to do a month long capacity building initiative teaching Africans from various countries how to change the visual and written narratives of the African diaspora. A crowning point after the workshop was the United States Embassy Chief of Mission recognizing Mr. Frederick’s efforts to raise awareness and empower Ethiopians to author the stories of their homeland and explore careers as journalists. In 2013, Russell had the esteemed privilege to be part of the White House Press team to photograph President Barack Obama when he visited Pathways in Technology High School in Brooklyn. This honor is one of his greatest accomplishments.

In addition to these accolades Mr. Frederick has photographed Grammy Award winning musicians D’angelo, Tedeschi Trucks blues band trombone player Saunders Sermons and Lauryn Hill. His work has been showcased and published in the New York Times, NBC News, the Daily Beast, VICE, the Photo District News, the Wall Street Journal, Slate Magazine, Spiegel Magazine, La Lettre De La Photographie.com, the Grio, Ebony, the BK Reader, Hycide, Columbia University, NYU, the School of Visual Arts, Penn State university, Columbia College in Chicago, Photoville, the Visa Pour L’image Photo festival Perpignan, France, the Addis Foto Festival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Reportage Photo Festival in Sydney, Australia, the Shanghai Arts Photo Festival in Shanghai, China, the Lodz Photo Festival in Lodz, Poland, the On the Move Photo Festival in Cortona, Italy, the Angkor Foto Festival in Angkor, Cambodia, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the RUSH Arts Gallery, the Rotunda gallery, the National Arts club, he Brooklyn Museum, the MOCADA Museum, the Reginald Lewis Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Goethe Institute in Accra,Ghana and much more. Mr. Frederick’s photos have been acquired to the permanent collections of the Gordon Parks Museum, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Open Society Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the City Museum of NY, The Danny Simmons art collection and many more private collectors.