Last week we received an early Christmas gift at my Seattle studio. Ian Ruhter and his crew brought the world’s largest mobile camera to chasejarvisLIVE to share the process of wetplate photography with us. Ian’s project has attracted a ton of attention and is a great example of the power of personal work. He transformed his life to follow his dream to do something different in photography. He is living the mantra of doing something different not just better. Ian and I took massive tintype portraits of Seattle music legends Chris Ballew and Ishmael Butler. If you want to see something totally new (old) in photography – watch this episode.
“I decided to invest in myself.” -Ian Ruhter
Finding time to create personal projects has been one of the most valuable experiences of my career as a visual artist. Ian’s commitment to his personal work has been turning heads. A professional snowboarder turned photographer he was at the top of his game as a staff photographer and commercial shooter for the most respected magazines and brands in the snowboarding world. Then, more than 2 years ago, he had a vision of a photo that had never been taken – and he needed to be the one to create it. In a moment he went “all in” and started his pursuit of a new, completely unique, creative experience. He spent all his savings and converted a box truck into a tintype camera and started traveling around the country in his camera taking wetplate processed tintype photos – some of the largest that have ever been created. Check out the video above for a teaser on Ian and his work.
Having Ian on chasejarvisLIVE was a great way wrap 2012 for the show. He was generous with his knowledge, personally showed me how his camera operates and introduced me (and all of you) to the process of wetplate photography. It was an all-around testament to the power of personal work…and the beauty of sharing that work.
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This is a very inspiring video. It made me think about my tools and my creations, what I am getting out of and what I am putting in to my photography.
It also reminded me of an artist named Shi Guorui – I saw his work in San Francisco a few years back. He makes long panoramic exposures directly to paper – up to 8 hours long! His “cameras” are sometimes tents, sometimes trucks, once a watchtower on the Great Wall of China.