These days we have all become accustomed to imagery generated with modern cameras, distributed instantaneously, edited beyond recognition, in the blink of an eye. The constant flow, speed and the magnitude with which images are being created leave few pushing against the current.
Photographer Ian Ruhter‘s Silver and Light film is a moment you must take out of your day to contemplate the beauty and effort of Ruhter’s journey to take image making back to it’s precious origins. By re-conceptualising the operation of a regular camera in a large format Ruhter works at capturing monumental scale landscapes through a giant mobile camera built into the back of his truck. He projects his images via a huge pin hole camera onto custom-made wet plates which are then developed immediately by hand out in the open air. Using raw chemicals in a large-scale format creates some difficulties logistically and this is evident in the uneven stains and washes across Ruhter’s traditionally-framed dramatic landscapes. That said; there is such artistry in the sense of trial and error evident in the images as Ruhter embraces the random and the imperfections of the process.
There is such an emotional investment of effort, of time, of contemplation and meditation to these images. But it is the simplicity and honesty of the process – after all, it is just a man and his truck and a big camera – that makes the handcrafted imagery so beautifully captivating. Each landscape is an one of a kind image which captures a moment in time. Ruhter says, “I didn’t just build a camera, I created a time machine”.
Credits: Ian Ruther