, [Model Guide No. 1], Russ Warner, undated

Archival Item

Resource TypeDocuments
Date of Creationundated
Administrative/Biographical HistoryRuss Warner was a bodybuilder who competed in a few contests in the late 1940s, and he realized that the photographs of the top stars of that era didn't do them justice. He began studying photography on his own, and soon he was on his way to becoming the most famous muscle photographer in the world. Between 1949, when his first cover photo of Steve Reeves was published, and 1965 his images appeared on more than 100 physique magazine covers, and he was universally acknowledged as the number-one physique photographer in the world. Russ was an innovator who brought fresh ideas to physique photography. He sought out and used exotic outdoor backgrounds to complement and enhance the great bodybuilders he photographed. He was the first to use such settings, creating pictures like Steve Reeves posed on a mountaintop with a sword, Clancy Ross on a sailboat flexing against the rigging, Vince Gironda at Vasquez Rocks, Reeves on the beach at Portuguese Bend in Palos Verdes, California, and Dick DuBois and Betty Weider on a yacht at Newport Beach, California'which started the trend of posing male bodybuilders with beautiful women. He was also the first to use Hawaii as a location for physique photography. In 1954 Russ invented a new indoor lighting technique called rim lighting, which he used in his studio against a black background to make his subject stand out from the backdrop while highlighting every area of the body. He used five floodlights to get that effect. When Russ photographed me with that black background in his studio in 1954, those were the greatest photographs ever taken of me,' said five-time Mr. Universe Reg Park. The rim-lighting technique was embraced by Jimmy Caruso, who used strobes, or electronic flash, to get the same effect, and he became Arnold Schwarzenegger's favorite photographer as well as Joe Weider's top lensman for Muscle Builder magazine. I learned Russ' technique directly from him. He showed me exactly how to set the lights, and I eventually had more than 100 cover photos published, for which I owe Warner a huge debt of gratitude. I'm also grateful for his inspiration, information and guidance. All of the top muscle photographers today have been influenced by the innovations Russ Warner made in the genre. Always looking for new methods to get even more fantastic photos, Russ built a cylindrical spiral device that reflected sunlight from the skylight in his studio and looked just like a posing light on stage at a contest'only better. He showed me some photos of Ed Corney taken under his skylight invention that were the most vivid, three-dimensional-looking black-and-white photos I've ever seen. Russ was the most versatile of all of the physique photographers of his era. He could do it all. Art Zeller, great as he was with available light, never used studio lighting. Jimmy Caruso never photographed anyone outdoors. Russ got great photos outdoors, in the studio, at contests and in the gym. He was my role model for muscle photography. Russ Warner's immortal photographs of early superstars like Steve Reeves, Clancy Ross, Jack Delinger, Reg Park, Vince Gironda, Leo Robert, George Eiferman, Marvin Eder and many others too numerous to mention deserve a very special place in the Bodybuilding Hall of Fame.
Extent & Medium1 photograph : gelatin silver print ; 8 x 10 in
Scope & ContentItem is a photograph of physique model . This photo is part of the creator's Series: Unknown.
Archival HistoryPhoto originally acquired by John Lillis [ ] through an unknown third party. Donation to Bob Mizer Foundation occurred in 2018.
NoteModel Guide No. 1



Russ Warner (creator)