In the past four out of five years I have had to work on my birthday. This year was one of those years. I was in Quebec Canada and we were scheduled for a night shoot then it started raining. It was like Mother Nature wanted me to have the night off. I really wanted to walk around and see the city so I set out in the rain. Walking in the rain at night with my camera in hand was one of the Best birthdays ever. I don’t like all the build up the birthdays and holidays have. It's nice when things just happen.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
A man travels and the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes
The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I traveled to Quebec Canada this past week and despite the bitter cold I was able to shoot some photos of my friends and the city. Quebec is an amazing city I felt like I was in France during the ice age.
Cameron Pierce, Nic Sauve
Pat Moore ,Cameron Pierce, Nic Sauve
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I started taping all theas Polaroid’s to my hotel room window so see what I had shoot so far on my trip to Quebec. After a few of them were up I realized it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I'm going to do some thing insane with this concept when I get some more to work with.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Over the last six months of shooting, testing, and experimenting with wet plate collodion I didn’t realize that it had been leading up to this shoot with Levi Brown. I never thought I would do something that has never been done before but this was in the back of my mind. Photography has been around for over 100 years and it still seemed to be an almost impossible feat. I have been looking into the works of Eadweard Muybridge, which is where the inspiration for the shoot came from. His photography has revolutionized photography forever. Just one of his many creations is the famous photo array of the horse running. It was the invention of motion pictures. Up to this point, no one had captured motion and since then I don’t think anyone else has using the wet plate collodion process. I wanted to see if I could do what he did.
Ian Ruhter: Capturing Motion on Wetplate from What the Fleet on Vimeo.
I set out to see if this was possible using modern day equipment. I took a few weeks of planning and asking for a ton of favors. It finally came down to shoot day. We started setting up and everyone was excited to see what was going to happen. I explained to Levi that this might not work out-- I didn’t want to waste his time. I had never worked with him and I knew he has a busy schedule. He is a professional skateboarder for Element and was about to go on tour, so his time was limited. Levi said, “This will work, you just have to be positive.” This may sound kind of hippy, but I believed him—the power of positivity. I was stoked on all the good energy. I asked him to stand in so I could get a light meter reading. I had to ask him to wear sunglasses because the light was going to be very intense-- I didn’t want to damage his eyes. I fired the strobes (he said could feel the heat from the flash). To do this, you need a tremendous amount of light-- much more light than I had ever used before. Everyone stepped aside and I hooked up the camera to the lights. I tested it once to see if they would all fire at the same time. It sounded like a bomb went off. One of the flash heads had exploded right in front of Levi and my assistant Mark. Glass was propelled from the light like a shotgun-- right at their faces. Somehow, it did not hit anyone. My first thought was “this is going to be really bad…” but there is something to be said about having positive energy. No one from my crew had ever seen anything like this happen before. I thought Levi was going to be hesitant about going through with it after that. He wasn’t even fazed by it. He said, “lets do this!” and we all went about our business like nothing happened.
I set up and we shot the first photo. I had no idea what was going to happen. I grabbed the plate and ran back to the portable dark room. I poured the developer onto the plate and an image started to appear. I was so excited to see a faint image start to emerge. It was very light, so I knew needed more light; that was a crazy thought but we added more. I shot another photo and ran back to the dark room. This time it worked. I felt proud as I walked out of the darkness holding this image. Everyone was super stoked on it. Our glory was short-lived when Levi made a good point. He said, “If you really want to do this, then I have to be moving while you shoot.” I knew he was right. We set up in a new location for this shot. We were pretty limited. Because of the power situation, we had to stay close to the studio. After we finished setting up, we made history. It worked!
(Dubbed click image to enlarge)
You may be asking, “What is the big deal? Why is the process so important? Why not just shoot this digitally and call it a day?” When I started with photography I was shooting on film and enjoyed making the images with my hands. As my career progressed, my process switched to digital and I somehow ended up spending all of my time in front of a computer editing code rather than capturing life. At this point, anybody can shoot digital. You don’t even have to be a good photographer. Digital is a sign of our times: we want things now. But with that mindset, we sacrifice so much. Digital is an unreal representation of something that is real. When you see an amazing photo nowadays, you assume that it’s been Photoshop’d; which devalues the image. In these times we try to fix all our imperfections and hide them. Nowadays it’s acceptable to disfigure (edit) a body in order to achieve “perfection”. I prefer to see the imperfections—that is what makes us individual, unique. The same principles should be applied to a photo and it’s process. Being able to produce something that is one-of-a-kind and real means everything in the world as an artist.
(Dubbed click image to enlarge)
I to give a special thanks to every who helped make this possible:
Skateboarder: Levi brown
Wet plate technician: James Alegria
Lighting: Mark Mc Clanahan
The edge rentals: Tyson
Filming: Matt Stanley
Video editing: Lauren Graham
Monday, December 6, 2010
If you didn’t know, Kandee Johnson had her last Glaminar here in Los Angeles this weekend. I remember helping her set up the first one-- she had it in my building in Downtown Los Angeles. It may not have been the ideal location but it was a great place to start. The Glaminars have come a long way since then. There are now more people, the location is nicer, and it’s more organized. But, some things have not changed-- it is still a very personal experience. Kandee stayed for five hours after the Glaminar to meet and talk with everyone.
I always knew Kandee had a good work ethic, but this time I was blown away by her dedication. She stood on her feet for fourteen hours while pregnant. There is no way a person could do something like this unless they truly loved what they were doing. She will go to any lengths to help or inspire someone. This was proven again last night. The world needs more people like her in it. It’s obvious that her fans respond to the love-- standing in line for hours after an all day event just to get a picture and to meet her in person. I was an amazing thing to witness. It felt great to be a part of this experience. Seeing it go full circle has been an amazing experience for all of us.
I showed up just as Kandee was taking a break for lunch. My friend Jordan and I met up with Kandee in her hotel room, so I had a few minutes to catch up and shoot some photos-- a view from what goes on behind the scenes.
You know when they say a photo is worth a thousand words? This is one of them. I had her stand by this plate glass window, which she is still afraid of because of the accident with her leg (I tested the glass to make sure it would not break on us). This symbolizes that no matter what bad thing happens to her, Kandee will stand tall and smile. The world can throw all kinds of bad stuff at you and this is proof that we can all overcome it.
Kandee only had a few minutes to get her makeup ready before she would go out and save the world. She’s like a modern day superhero.
In the midst of a fourteen-hour day, she somehow had time to check up on her kids, her fans, and her family. I don’t know how she does it!
No matter what is going on, there is always time to make a few jokes and laugh with friends. This comes from years of knowledge and experience laid out like pieces on a table. Each piece is a tool to change someone’s life when in the right hands.
This is what it looked like from the audience of the Glaminar: taking something small and projecting it into something that is larger than life.
Kandee has the best fans in the world. I hope that one day I can have the same kind of following. I was truly inspired by this day.