Fstoppers Look into Ian Ruhter's 'Death Do Us Part'

Ian Ruhter is quickly becoming a household name in the world of creative photography and wonderful documentaries. His name first broke into the scene last year, with his film entitled 'Silver & Light'; where he discussed his van which has been converted into a camera, but more importantly, takes us through his journey to find his passion again. Yesterday, Ian gave us a new story where he tackles death and the coping process.

Ian explains, that in six short years, he lost some of the closest people to him, and he never fully found the peace from those experiences. So this story is simply finding the strength to move on from the past. As Ian explains to us "I got to a point where I had to let go of the past in order to move forward into the future. I reached the point where I had to let go, was no other choice. ". This story follows Ian, his assistants, and his beloved wet plate camera van, in the journey of finding your own life after death.


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After Silver & Light went viral, it opened a whole new world of creative opportunities for Ian. "I'm now able to create photos in way represents the way I see the world. The greatest door that has opened is the support from people across the world." Ian states.


What makes Ian's stories so compelling is his honesty with the world around him. These aren't characters in a movie, but real events happening to real people. No added drama, just people finding what they truly love in life and pursuing it wholeheartedly. In this latest film, Ian speaks with Bob Barr, a Vietnam War veteran and bomber feeling remorse for the history he has help shaped. Bob Barr, takes them through history with photo slides, slides that no one else in Bob's family seems interested in seeing. This whole moment in the film isn't a political movement, but an honest moment between Ian and his subject, Bob. "I really like Bob's perspective on life. Even though he didn't agree with the war he still did his job because he believed in his country. It gives us a perspective on the current situation were in with the wars going on today. We don't talk about Vietnam but I think we could learn a lot from that situation and apply it to our current situation. "


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The process Ian uses to capture these images is called Wet Plate Photography. For those unfamiliar with the concept, its showed pretty well in his film Silver & Light. The process was developed in the 1850s using a silver nitrate solution on a glass or metal plate, and then exposing the image to light with a camera while the chemical reaction takes place. The process is far more technical (and expensive) than it sounds. Ian writes "I would suggest to anyone that wants to get in wet plate photography that they take a class from a reputable teacher. This is a good way to learn and it will allow you to work with the process before you go out and buy everything. "


Rather than a photographer, Ian calls himself an Alchemist, saying "While I was building the truck I read a book called The Alchemist. This book inspired me so much. I felt like the story paralleled my own. This book is about a kid that sets out on a journey to find a treasure. He learns that the treasure is looking for isn't of monetary value. I call myself an alchemist because I am in a search to find out the meaning of life through photography. I would highly recommend the book The Alchemist to anyone. "

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"The message were trying to convey with this film is Death Do Us Part is the fear of letting go of our past in order to reach for the future. When we take this leap of faith we decide to let go of our fears. We begin free falling with nothing to hold on to. These are the rare instances that we are actually living in the moment."


When talking about inspiration and reconnecting yourself to your love for photography, Ian left us with this " Go back to photographing what's in your heart. Remember the day you got your first camera and you were making photos with no rules or expectations. You were doing it because you love it. Sometimes you have to go backwards. It's like a big catapult and you're loading it up so it can propel you forward farther than you ever imagine."


Photo by Cari_faye_ copyPhoto by Cari_faye_4 copy
Check out all of Ian's work on his website, and for his videos, past and present, look at his Vimeo channel.


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Mike Kelley's picture

Ian is the biggest BAMF in the photography world right now. I absolutely love this. He's inspired me to take a wet plate class - can't wait!

Dan Lubbers's picture

Did you catch his live interview/photosession on Chase Jarvis Live? It was really good!

Lorenzo P's picture

I really enjoyed this, Its a pleasure watching Ian grow into this super star, and he is doing it in such a humbling way!!!!! Also this video was beautifully made! 

Sean Shimmel's picture

It's funny (in a disappointingly sad way) how few thoughtful comments Ian's pieces have garnered on F-Stoppers. Deserves many many more