“Following your dream” often takes you down a road less traveled. And therein lies the fear and fascination in starting the journey. Believing in your vision, laying it on the line and opening yourself up to whatever you may encounter also means taking a big risk. And hopefully, creating work that is unique and engaging.
That’s what propels photographer Ian Ruhter’s pursuit of “Silver and Light”. In one sense, it’s what he calls the technical approach he uses to create his images, incorporating a huge bellows camera and a photographic process developed 160 years ago.
And at a time when innovators in modern image-making have mostly embraced the digital domain, Ruhter returned to an early photographic technique to capture one-of-a-kind pieces using the wet plate collodian process that was adapted so effectively by Matthew Brady during the Civil War. And so brilliantly by artist Sally Mann.
Here are some examples of his work:
You can see his photographs are at once realistic and some what abstracted, as if portraying an ancient view of a modern scene. And each image holds some portions in quite sharp focus while other areas have a soft, gauzy quality. Which creates a more dreamy, almost mysterious mood. In a sense, you see what is there, but you also experience it as a moment removed from time and place.
It’s a space at once familiar and strange, and that makes us pay attention. I think each image offers us a window into the world that Ruhter is trying to show us. And I think that’s the other part of what he’s after. Check out the video “Silver & Light” where Ruhter lays out his vision and describes his artistic process. And you can see more images at his blog and at his website.
I don’t think every photograph works, but I appreciate what he’s trying to do and the risk he’s taking to accomplish it.