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Capturing Stories of People Letting Go of the Past with a Giant Wet Plate Van Cam


Photographer Ian Ruhter has released the latest video in his beautiful Silver & Light series, which follows along as he creates portraits around the United States using a giant wet plate camera van. The video above is titled, “Death Do Us Part,” and is about the idea of letting go of fears.


Ruhter had a particularly difficult stretch of about 6 years earlier in his life, during which he attended 9 funerals for people dearest to him. He says he spent years afterward alone in his mind, consumed by his own thoughts. Finally, he was able to use his passion for photography to let go of his past in order to reach for his future.

In this rare instance I had an uncontrollable desire to build this device. I now call my camera the Time Machine. While I was building this camera something magical happened. I finally let go my fears and reached out. Originally it was a mechanical project and slowly it morphed to a soul-searching Journey. I believe this relates to photography in general. When we obtain our first camera we view it as a material object. Somehow it transforms into a key that allows us to explore what’s in our hearts. This device opens doors that we could never have imagined.  This is Death Do Us Part.

As with all the videos in the Silver & Light series so far, this installment features gorgeous imagery and beautiful storytelling.





You can find our previous coverage of Ruhter’s photography videos and projects here.

Image credits: Video and photographs by Ian Ruhter and used with permission