Ian Ruhter and His Camera Truck


If you haven't seen his stunning wet plate images, you are in for a treat. If you have, you know what we are talking about. Ian Ruhter, his truck and the people who have posed for him and helped him create stunning photographs are making a splash online and in print. We interviewed Ian about his current and upcoming projects, take a look at what he had to say.

Photos: Ian Ruhter

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, what you do for a living, how you got into it?

I feel fortunate I get to do what I love for a living. I am a photographer. I got into photography because I thought it would be a fun hobby. I didn’t realize it at the time. I had found a part of me that had been missing my whole life. I was born with dyslexia. Growing up, it was very hard for me to express myself. I felt different from all of the other kids. Once I found photography, I found my voice. This was the first time I felt I could communicate my thoughts and feelings with the world.

The concept of the American dream has been a subject of literature and art for centuries and now you explore it through the medium of photography, what is the statement or concept you have formed from this project?

The American Dream project is not confined to just America. America is a place where the world has gathered to live together. The concept is in the process of photographing the people of America and telling their stories. From the outside it appears that we are millions of people living together yet separated by race, socioeconomic status, culture, and lines drawn on a map. I believe these stories and photographs will reveal how we are all connected.

Photos: Ian Ruhter

Many of the people you interviewed in your video talk about the opportunity to succeed, do you still believe this is a reality in the United States?

In the United States there are a lot of mixed emotions and feelings pertaining to opportunity and success. In the process of working on the American Dream project, I am finding out that people still have hopes and dreams. These are the key factors to opportunity and success. Yes, I believe this is a reality as long as you have the ability to dream.

What is your American Dream?

My American Dream is freedom. Freedom to think, create and inspire people.

Your project Silver and Light has been a real adventure for you, from successful outcomes to frustrating missteps. What do you consider your greatest success with this project?

I feel that the greatest success from this project is, I completely changed the direction of my life and started following what’s in my heart. In doing so, hundreds of thousands of people were compelled by my story. At that moment, I undoubtedly knew I was doing the right thing. Just the thought of knowing you are on the right path is an incredible feeling.

Where did the idea for the camera truck come from?

The idea for the camera truck started because I could not find the film I had once loved. Slowly film has been disappearing. I felt if I learned how to make my own film, no one could take the missing piece away from me again.

How Long did it take you to realize the project from idea to a final working camera?

It has taken me two years to make the camera work. It will take me a lifetime to complete the project.

Photos: Ian Ruhter

What advice would you give someone aspiring to take on a project of this magnitude?

The advice I would give to someone aspiring to take on a project of this magnitude is, once you have reached the point where you absolutely cannot go any farther, you have only reached the beginning. This quote from Thomas Edison really inspired me " Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up".

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with us?

I have quite a few projects on the table right now. The most important one is the American Dream project. This project is about me discovering who I am and the truth about the place I call home.

Photos: Ian Ruhter

Recently, Laura Austin recently spent a day with Ian in Los Angeles. Take a look at more of his images, follow his project on his tumblr or on his Facebook page.

written by gabysalas on 2012-08-14 in #lifestyle #videos #ian-ruhter #art #photography #wet-plate


  1. wilfbiffherb
    wilfbiffherb ·

    AMERICA!!! F' YEAH!! great photos though.

  2. bsdunek
    bsdunek ·

    Great photos, and a great project. America is great, and will be greater following the next election!

  3. blanches_nickelodeon
    blanches_nickelodeon ·

    Really inspiring. Thanks.

  4. lazybuddha
    lazybuddha ·


  5. clownshoes
    clownshoes ·

    Really great

  6. spiritedly
    spiritedly ·

    Amazing story, amazing video - yes, for my generation the type of film I like and can buy are either too expensive, or in 'expired' versions, so in a sense we never feel completely fun taking film photos =)

  7. feelux
    feelux ·

    amazing stuff!

  8. guanatos
    guanatos ·

    this is wonderful!

  9. alex34
    alex34 ·

    Seems somewhat pointless. Save awhile and buy a dedicated large format landscape camera like a Horseman 45FA or equivalent, and you will get immaculate prints you can blow up. A LOT easier than this method of spending $500 a shot and melting down bits of silver. This story also just perpetuates the belief that film is somehow going to die overnight, and we're all going to have to become mystical Yoda-like back street chemists, melting down bits of silver in our sheds whilst spouting pseudo-cryptic philosophical quips. There's a law of supply and demand people-there are still HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of film cameras in the world being used.

  10. rbruce63
    rbruce63 ·

    I like the fact that each plate is unique frozen in time perspective of an event. There is no way going back or to repeat the moment. That the project is on America makes the project even more attractive! Congratulations on the effort! In the mean time I've just keep making more film pictures than before the dawn of digital!

  11. m22509075
    m22509075 ·

    WOW! This is fantastic!

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