Russ Osterweil

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Oakland, CA

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I was born in NYC in 1956 and raised in an intense, hard-core urban environment - think West Side Story without the singing and dancing. Making art was my inner world, my refuge.

At age 13, I worked with a photographer based at Long Island College Hospital, accompanying my mentor to hospitals throughout the Metropolitan New York Area to photograph special medical cases. Then, at 18 I had the great fortune to study “Psychological Portraiture” with renowned portrait photographer Philippe Halsman. I was concurrently engaged in an 11-year apprenticeship in marble sculpture with Abstract Expressionist maverick Philip Pavia.

Always preferring mentorship to institutionalized education, I dropped out of college twice, in order to pursue an education. Finally, in 1994, after a number of other careers, I devoted myself full time to photography.

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