Arts Librarian Ashley Warthen goes off book with photojournalist, Crush Rush to kick off his library residency.
Marion “Crush” Rush is a native of Columbia, South Carolina. He is a full-time self-employed photographer who also enjoys chronicling the world of political and civil unrest as it unfolds in real time through his photojournalism.
Crush Rush is an African American artist who is constantly striving to uplift his community through arts education and fact driven dialogue.
Crush Rush (CR): The hardest part about photojournalism is leaving your feelings and emotions at home, especially when you're covering an event that you feel strongly about or covering an event that starkly contrasts something that you feel strongly about.
(A): Describe the most fun event you've ever photographed.
(CR): I honestly can't crown the "most fun" event but I can definitely say that AbleSC's Youth Leadership Forum was full of many genuine and heartfelt funny moments that I find myself thinking about randomly for no reason at all.
(A): Oddest photo request for advertising or otherwise.
(CR): I plead the 5th. But no seriously, human existence can get pretty weird and people have their preferences. It comes with the territory of being known as a person who doesn't infringe on people's lives so long as they aren't infringing on other people's lives with their actions.
(A): Hardest part of being a self-employed artist?
(CR): The hardest thing about being a self-employed artist is staying motivated when things are going good. Being self employed comes with the pitfall of comfort when you have a real good run. Coming up with a pricing structure is the bane of every artist's existence. We are our worst critics and finding our own value tends to be a struggle even for established artists.
(A): Most interesting thing about being a photojournalist in a pandemic?
(CR): The most interesting thing about being a photojournalist in a pandemic is seeing the true cult like power of politics. People are taking unapologetic hard stances and are unable to waiver from their ideas even when being presented with facts and supporting documentation all because the flavor of politics they subscribe to.
(A): One thing you learned in school that you still use today.
(CR): One thing I learned in school was the power of reading, thinking and reading again a second time to make sure that I didn't miss anything. My teacher Ms. Finney, (Now known as Ms. Woods) always made me read things twice.
When reading articles and things of that nature I read paragraphs twice before moving to the next paragraph. I realize that it helps me retain information more accurately.
(A): Last book you read?
(CR): The last book I read is a book entitled The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I feel like this book is sacred text for any creative that is looking to stay motivated or break through any form of Creator's Block.
(A): What are you listening to currently?
(CR): I constantly find myself alternating between Run The Jewels and Anderson .Paak nowadays. When I'm not listening to their discographies on shuffle I'm usually listening to the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Soundtrack.
Music is a big part of my life and is actually my first creative love far before photography. Once upon a time I played in two bands and produced electronic music before it went mainstream and had a catalogue that had over 100 completed songs.
(A): Biggest photography influence?
(CR): It's hard for me to identify the biggest influence, there are so many great photographers that came before me. Due to the nature of the photos I have been taking lately I have been drawing more inspiration from civil rights photographers such as our own Cecil J. Williams, Ernest Withers and Spider Martin.
I can also say that my peers are a huge influence. South Carolina, specifically Columbia is home to a plethora of talented photographers who can switch styles with ease. It feels like we're all classmates in one giant classroom more than it feels like there's a competition.