Bulger's Beat: Photographer to the stars featured in new exhibit - WSMV Channel 4

Bulger's Beat: Photographer to the stars featured in new exhibit

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Russ Harrington Russ Harrington

Some of the legends in country music - from Loretta Lynn to Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn - turn to one guy if they want their photo taken.

Russ Harrington stays behind the camera with his camera. That's why you've probably never heard of him.

But through the years, his photos have filled some 600 album covers, and now his work is featured at the Tennessee State Museum.

This is not fixed-lens, iPhone photography. Old-school optics, depth-of-field and lighting are still tools of Harrington's trade.

"With Loretta, when I was working with her and photographing her, you kind of pinch yourself all day," Harrington said.

His job is not just pushing that camera button, but also pushing the buttons of his subjects.

"This isn't what they do. They work up on stage, and now you're gonna become a model. And, a lot of times, that's hard," he said. "But with every shot, you see artists get better in front of the camera."

This artist has had a camera in his hands since he was 10.

"I had a 110 Instamatic and used to go to Photo Mart in Harding Mall. I'd drop them off and couldn't wait to get the little prints back," Harrington said.

Now, he's telling Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant to say "cheese."

"The whole time I'm going, 'I listened to this guy in the '70s when I'm over at Antioch High School, and I had Led Zeppelin eight tracks, and now I'm photographing the guy and he's walking around my Berry Hill studio,'" Harrington said.

Harrington's exhibit "Shooting Stars" opens Friday at the Tennessee State Museum.

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