The Photo Exchange

Ian Ruhter – Silver and Light at Fahey/Klein Gallery

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim McKinniss on October 12, 2014
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Los Angeles River copyright by Ian Ruhter

Levi Brown

Levi Brown copyright by Ian Ruhter

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Elsa copyright by Ian Ruhter

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Downtown Los Angeles copyright by Ian Ruhter

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Biker, Los Angeles copyright by Ian Ruhter

In the process of losing my way I have taken a tremendous journey back to the 1800’s.  
I have time-traveled the way you would in a dream. Taking me backwards into the future, a future where you paint with silver and light.
-Ian Ruhter

Ian Ruhter had been working as a successful commercial and sports photographer when he first discovered the wet plate collodion process.The nineteenth century photographic process involves pouring a liquid mixture of iodides, bromides, and a solution called collodion over a glass or aluminum plate. The plate is then bathed in silver nitrate, making it light-sensitive. The plate must then be quickly exposed and developed in just a few minutes, before the collodion dries and loses sensitivity. The process is expensive, laborious, and extremely unpredictable. Temperature and moisture affect the chemicals greatly and can entirely alter the developing process, ruining a wet plate. But the results of this labor intensive process are undeniable– a completely unique and incredibly detailed image, with rich layers of silver suspended in emulsion producing a three dimensional effect. Because the process is produced and controlled entirely by hand, each plate is inherently unique, with the chemicals’ process leaving irregular and impossible to reproduce beautiful ghostly shadows, halos, and ripples in each plate.

Ian Ruhter’s collodion wet plate landscapes honor the tradition of the pioneering California photographers who documented the incredible landscape of the Western United States. Ruhter has surpassed his predecessors in scope by creating a body of work documenting modern American cityscapes and contemporary portraits. Ruhter’s images combine the unrefined, antique wet plate aesthetic with contemporary subject matter. Ruhter respects the tradition pioneered before him by early photographers, while challenging himself to work on an even larger scale. Ruhter and his team have mastered making wet plates measuring up to 48 X 60 inches, the largest wet plates ever created to date, where in one will be the centerpiece of the exhibition.
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Artist Reception on October 16 from 7-9pm
This show runs October 16 to November 29, 2014
Fahey/Klein is located at 148 North La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036  
Phone: (323) 934-2250
By Jim McKinniss
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