Even though every Profoto product was designed with a purpose, we encourage and support creatives who find new ways of using them. Ian Ruhter is one of those photographers. Ian uses powerful Profoto strobes to rejuvenate the old wet plates technique . He is currently traveling around his home country, photographing the places and the people who live there in this never-before-seen fashion. We will follow him on this journey in a series of articles, written by Ian himself. This is the first part of his story.
The day I discovered photography, I found my voice. Growing up, it was hard to express my thoughts and feelings in conventional ways. As photographers, we express ourselves through our photographs. These images are reflections of who we are.
Two years have passed since I began working on the Silver & Light project. I feel that this is the first time in my life I have a camera that allows me to truly create what is in my heart. This journey began when I started looking for the film I used to love and I discovered it was not there anymore. It wasn’t long before I realized this was far greater than the search for film. I was searching for my identity.
In the absence of film, I discovered a nineteenth century process called wet plate collodion. The collodion film is made by hand. Each time you make a batch of liquid film it gives you a unique result. This lead to an idea that became so profound that it changed my life forever. The idea was, that now that I could make my own unique film, I needed to build a camera that had the same qualities. This would allow me to take pictures the way that I see them in my dreams. November 28th, 2011, I captured what I saw in my dream. I had created a camera that would produce one-of-a-kind images. This was the first time I felt I truly had my own identity. Immediately after doing so, the American Dream project was born.
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 a distance, 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. Not just as Americans, but as the human race. This process is also about me discovering who I am and the truth about the place I call home.
For 7 years I called Los Angeles home. I felt I needed to start at the beginning. This project brought back the feelings I had when I started photography. Everything was new and I had more questions than answers. In order to make the American Dream project possible I knew I was going to need help. The moment I reached out, the response was overwhelming. Friends and people I had never met came together to help make this dream a reality. Help came from places as far away as Sweden. The most important component to photography is light. Profoto lights, have always been, an important instrument in my photography. I felt incredibly honored when they reached out and offered to help. In the previous months, Profoto has contributed a tremendous amount of support and supplied us with greatest lighting source in the world. This dream would not be possible without my friends both old and new.
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