Inside the World of Large Scale Wet Plate Photography
Photographer Ian Ruther is on a mission to capture America one giant photo at a time
The opening of photographer Ian Ruther‘s video “Silver & Light” looks like a glimpse inside a meth lab and mind of its desperate creator; ” I can’t stop, I’ve backed myself into a corner” says the voiceover while a man wearing a gas mask mixes chemicals. It’s a dramatic opening for a photographer with dramatic aspirations.
Disillusioned by the uniformity of digital images, Ruhter decided to create his own massive camera is what looks like a delivery truck. With the help of assistants, he is traveling around the U.S. creating massive wet-plate images (and taking suggestions via. Facebook about where he should visit next).
Because of the gallons of chemicals need for each image the larger they get, a single photo now costs him about $500 to produce. Mistakes are inevitable, and such a costly process would certainly encourage others to change course. But Ruhter’s commitment strengthens in the face of setbacks: “If it was easy, it wouldn’t be fun. I didn’t want to make enlargements, I didn’t want to make copies, I wanted to show people the beauty of these things in a size that had never been seen before.”
Check out his video, “Silver & Light” below for a look inside his process.