Born in New York City, Ross earned a BA in Art and Art History from Yale University in 1974. Following an early career in painting and sculpture, Ross began his photographic work in 1994. A major milestone in his work is the Hurricane series, begun in 1996. The large-scale black and white images depict dramatic ocean waves shot by Ross during hurricanes while in the water and tethered to an assistant on land.
In 2002, in order to photograph Mount Sopris in Colorado, Ross invented and patented his R1 camera, and then went on to make some of the highest resolution single shot landscape photographs in the world. Having worked realistically and abstractly as a painter and photographer, his fascination with the mountain led him to deconstruct the dramatic realism of his photographs through the use of computer-generated animation. This led to the creation of Harmonium Mountain in 2010, a short form video with an original score by Philip Glass and the Harmonium series. The colorful, abstract Harmoniums are built from a very small fraction of the entire landscape of Mount Sopris and printed on hand-crafted Japanese paper.
His recent collaborations include a multimedia installation with Pan Gongkai, President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, and a 3.5 ton, 28' x 28' stained glass wall with architects Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam for the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Austin, Texas.
A solo exhibition, Landscape Seen and Imagined, opened at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts in May 2015.
Ross is a contributing editor for BOMB magazine and serves as chair of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.
Ross' work has been exhibited widely in galleries and museums in the United States, as well as in Europe, Brazil and China and can be found in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Philadelphia Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.