We had the good fortune of connecting with Russell Tanoue and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Russell, what is the most important factor behind your success?
As a photographer I have shot everything from CD covers, Calendars, Magazines, Catalogs, Celebrities Aspiring actors and models, etc. Aside of keeping up with the styles and vibe in the industry, my most important factor behind my success is always going beyond the call of duty. Regardless if they are professional talent or new faces. Everyone deserves that equal attentive time and extras.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
If you go to yelp you will find countless reviews from my clients that often shocks and or touches me. I truly believe what sets me apart from others is that I works with people from the inside out. I feel energy and start from there. In order for me to click the camera, I need to “feel” something. And most of the time, it comes from pulling out my models “light” that makes a great image. I am most proud of my Project Shine Hawaii that I created from doing makeovers. One of my makeovers I did was a person battling server Lupus and after she saw her photo it touched her so much it made me so happy. So from there my Project Shine Hawaii has done countless makeovers for cancer survivors, at-risk teens, victims of domestic violence and bullying. I have also raised thousands of dollars over the years for charities. As mentioned earlier, I was pretty lucky on how I became “Russell Tanoue”. It was one photo I shot of a dancer that landed in a modeling agencies office and the rest is history. If there were any challenges like in any industry it was jealousy. My advice to anyone who has jealousy in their environment, don’t put your energy trying to deal or fix it. Just keep doing what you are doing and never let anyone dim your light! You can’t fix jealousy, and if you try you will break yourself. I’ve learned that people are just people and I got an awesome job because I’m given so many opportunities to inspire and make people feel good about themselves and create images that boost their careers in many ways.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well pre Covid I assume. It would have to be all the sightseeing around the island. We have one of the most beautiful beaches, mountains, waterfalls, etc. Hiking is big here and of course surfing. The Northshore is a great place to spend an entire day. Skydiving, horse back riding, kayaking, surfing, etc. And when it comes to food? Lets just say, Hawaii offers the best of every type of food you want. There are so many hole in the wall places to try to 5 star restaurants. From the famous Zippy’s chili with chicken, Liliha Bakery’s coco puffs, Uncle Bo’s, Chef Chai’s, 1938 Indochine, Doraku’s, Roy’s, Vino’s, Panya Bistro, Maile’s Thai, Tanaka of Tokyo, Morton’s Steakhouse, Ruth Chris Steakhouse, Moku’s, the list goes on. I would have them try one dish from each restaurant. ha ha ha.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Well as a dancer I would do makeup on my peers and photograph them. One day, one of them went to a modeling agency with my photos I shot and the director asked who shot those photos. Immediately after discovering who I was, they kept me busy with clients. So I thank those from my dancing career years and I also thank Actress Kelly Hu who kept me busy shooting all her modeling portfolio images and actors headshots.
Instagram: @russelltanoue @rtfotousa @pshinehi