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"This project isn't about making images. It's not about creating the world's largest camera. It's about doing what you love. If you had been searching your whole life for something you love, what would you be willing to sacrifice?"
~Ian Ruhter, from Silver & Light

I can't remember watching something so heartbreakingly gorgeous, unswerving in its emotional sway, inspirational to the point of forcing me to wonder about my current station in life. What am I doing here?

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154 Comments

So beautiful. The only thing is, what about all those chemicals that he uses falling to the ground being absorbed by the earth.
Not so eco friendly I must say.

Great story!

Thank you for sharing your journey of believing in believing!

Awesome. Beautifully awesome.

Beautiful, is what, and yeah, it works and it is a true thing. Every artist needs to see this film.
www.patchapin.com

Very inspirational -exactly the medicine we need for the 21st Century!
I started out creatively with photography as a young man and have only returned to it with 3D laser scanning: http://www.scottpagedesign.com/ (read my 'Musings' section about light).

But I absolutely love your dream, your vision, and your commitment. I sent this on to many creative folks to cheer you on!
~Scott Page, Berkeley, CA

How amazing to accept this great gift of ingenuity at such a tender age. I am watching this just as we move past Winter Solstice. This reminds me of the light we all carry within our souls. It just takes some of some a little longer to open their hearts to it.

this is the post-postmodern. the tide is among us.

Do what you love.

As beautiful as these photographs are, and as enthused as the artists are, what about at least a mention of the Great Creator who made the light and the trees, the world and all living things? Images can not be taken without the existence of this amazing Earth, with her natural systems and cycles and all living things. Is the image more important than the real? Who is the artist of the real? This is where a little humbleness is called for, and reverence, and gratitude. May this artistʻs journey lead him on to even greater realization.

This has made my day. I wish all potsngis were this good.

I have been ranting about the magic of silver and refuse to go digital. This touches my heart. Wonderful evocation of darkroom magic. The dream of authentic human vision.

Not a big fan of people using so many disturbing chemicals out in nature. Can anyone tell me what impact there maybe with the chemicals he is using?

A magnificent statement of creativity and individuality and the struggle to get it just right. I have lived that struggle all my creative life as a filmmaker and honor this film and all the characters who made it possible. I recently struggled to create art from burned objects and made a movie of the experience– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUTZ913FN4M .
David Altman–filmmaker

Makes me miss my black and white developing days.
Would love to purchase one of these.

Incredible tenacity and beauty

It's a good history lesson, but if we were all still doing photography using so many chemicals, our rivers, streams and well waters would be a lot more polluted than they already are. One of the good things photography did was go digital.

Great video on sharing doing what you love :-)... thank you.

our only limitations are the ones we place on ourselves. You are amazing

Amazing project. I hope to one day see your work. I'm comped by your dedication and passion. To have family portraits don'e like this. That would be ideal.

I love it. I found it inspiring. We're seeing beauty through his unique vision. That is art.

Outstanding. As an old Photographer and on who was also a Photo Chemist. I salute you and the Project you have embarked upon. There are a lot of "Old School" Navy Photographers out there rooting for you. Don't lose heart. Wet plate is different with every shot. Keep up the good work..
John A Robertson
aldric_1@hotmail.com

thank your for your show i am a huge fan been listening for years i am an adjunct professor in the religious studies
department in a jesuit college in buffalo i like the "staff pick" on "what would you be willing to sacrifice"... here is a youtube
presentation on the philosophy (and *spirituality*) of photography by Henri Cartier-Bresson which i thought you would like
and would be worth posting https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm#inbox/13c973442ffe9245 thanks again for all you
do... thanks for just... being :)

Thank you for doing this beautiful and important work. Now I am inspired!

. . . perseverance furthers . . .and you chose to be in the most beautiful places . . . and your photos remind me to go out and experience those places. Thank you!

wonder----full!

Beautiful and yet it's an example of the "I want, I need, I'm unfulfilled, etc." aspect of the human ego, and also, the unexamined soul. He's aiming his efforts at a form of self-realization, and yet, our notion of "self" realization has not yet included our immediate surroundings. I too want realization, but not at the expense of the Planet's ecosystem. My experience of watching this was two-fold: inspired AND dismayed at how the inspiration of his passion glossed over his unconscious use of chemicals. Now, show me a soul-passion that is integrated with Planet-passion and you've got something!

So beautiful....Both the struggle and the "end" result (is there ever an end?)....Thank you for sharing.

I loved the discipline and passion of these determined artists. I could feel their energy in capturing the images they so wanted to freeze on the "frame", larger than any other camera. This is a beautiful film about vision, drive and the creative mastery of a process. I loved it!

I love you for making this film.

Ian , your art is astounding. We done. All the pain you went through to create those masterpieces was so worth it. I am a sculptor and have not taken the time to understand photographic methodology, but am now feeling a need to try it. Thank you

very cool. It pulls at my heart strings. It is true art at it's core. Thank you for sharing

This is so relevant for so many artistic pursuits. I get it. Thank you.

I forwarded it to my friends ... for all those pursuing a dream this summer ....

Does anyone fret when he has trouble with the photographs? Does anyone
believe a genuine moment was captured when he tosses the plate into the desert?
Is it even possible to be genuine at all when you're making a promotional film about yourself
but presenting it as a regular documentary? I love Ian's photography and his filmmaking
but this kind of self-mythologizing makes me TUIMM.*

*throw up in my mouth. yes, i'm just being silly now.

Thank you for showing us something so genuine, so deeply human. Woven between dreams, courage and tenacity the video leaves a resounding sense in my heart to deepen and 'step up' too as a leader in my world.
Many thanks
S

Totally amazing.

so beautiful & inspiring. "If it was super easy, it wouldn't be fun." so true.

Beautiful images but at what cost? This art form is TOXIC! Gas masks, heavy rubber gloves and protective clothing in the middle of Yosemite!! As these beautiful images are being created, toxic chemicals are spilling over onto the earth, leaking off the tarps, contaminating and harming the earth, ground water and air. YUCK.

A beautiful example of what it really means to be 'all in.' I, for one, am grateful for this man's exquisite gift. For sharing the way he sees the world, for showing me. Inspirational.

I would love to be updated and find out about where you are now, what are you doing, and how you are. Thank you for sharing your story.

thank you for sharing - you are amazing -your devoition, your caring shows

wishing you much luck - keep it up - we will enjoy your efforts-

I know it takes work, much work - but, it is well worth it.

thank you again

My mouth is hanging slack as the video closes; awesome hardly justifies what you are doing and what you have accomplished, As I watched this and heard your self-doubt, criticism and cynicism be shared with the camera, I couldn't help but think two consecutive thoughts -- "NO, how can you have such negative thoughts about the beauty of your dream; how can you doubt yourself for trying to realize something that is so big and unknown; how can you know that what you are doing is not right when it hasn't been done before, how can you doubt the realization of your innovative process is not just exactly the way it is supposed to be - that what you are creating is perfect now - and only your doubts are getting in the way of you seeing the perfect-ness of what you are doing?" and "Shhhhh...you are in the place you just described as "one of the most beautiful places in the world' and you are criticizing something that is just as beautiful and unique -- your expressive process." As the camera pans across Half Dome and as you climb up off the road while the snow is cascading down the hillside above you, it is almost as if we were being shown proof that Yosemite is in a constant state of flux and still morphing on itself after eons of time to create itself and you want the perfect shot to occur when you say it is time? A cosmic joke, perhaps, or maybe another example of how we seldom give ourselves the grace God gives us and the world - the grace to say, 'Maybe not the best, but close enough to call it good. Now, what's next?' I'm proud of you for trying so hard to get it right and I'm amazed that I think one of your first shots shown on the video would have been acceptable as mind-blowingly incredible. Keep at it, Ian, as only you will know when it is right for you. I'd love to be kept informed, if you are so inclined. Best of the best, Rhonda @ onceagain2007@gmail.com

I think all you can ask for in life is to find your purpose. I know many people spend their whole life searching for it. To see someone find theirs is truly amazing and inspiration at the same time. You can feel how much passion and commitment they have. You envy that person. It makes you want to find your purpose, passion, and desires so you can see how far it will take you. Really enjoyed the video. Thanks so much.

What's with the face masks?

Who are these egomaniacs, and why are they poisoning our planet? Is it worth it, nuthuggers? Smoke, mirrors, and poison.

Through Ruhter's experience I can imagine a little what the early photographers went through dragging huge cameras and chemicals and hardware with the then most advanced technology. When we now see the spectacular results, results we can readily duplicate, more or less, with far lower resolution, clarity and size using mass-produced instruments, how many of us understand how difficult, difficult, difficult it was. How much time and dedication, how many failures, plates thrown into the scenery in frustration? To continue doing this, you have to love the process and the product. I admire the artist.

You have lived the American Dream---you followed your passion!! God bless you!

Hi, tube over the aperture might reduce atmospheric effects to get the waterfall pic

What an amazing journey. Thanks for reinventing your art. It is beautiful!

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