L.A.-based photographer Ian Ruhter began his career using film and processing it in a darkroom. As the digital era progressed, the artist felt something was lost. So, he built a giant camera in the back of his van and got back to the basics of photography with an early photographic technique called wet plate collodion processing. The results are spectacular!
The complicated process uses hazardous chemicals and silver nitrate to turn large sheets of metal into finely detailed photographs with a touch of silver shine. Ruhter says the approach gives him, “the ability to work with [my] hands again using raw film and creating one-of-a-kind images.” Exposure time for one metal sheet takes anywhere from several seconds to a few minutes and each image costs about $500 to make.
This series of wet plate collodion prints, made for the clothing company Foursquare, features snowboarders on the slopes. With a lot of trial-and-error and experimentation, Ruhter succeeded in combining a unique level of quality with the classic feel of a historic photograph. He says, “I didn’t just build a camera, I created a time machine.”