Ian Ruhter

ROBERT | Holga wet plate looks very practical and fun to work with. Was it your idea or have you seen done elsewhere? What do you like most about working with the Holga?

IAN | Yes the Holga plates are extremely fun to make. It was refreshing to not have to move a huge truck around just to make a photo. It opened up a lot of possibilities working with the small camera. I had seen other photographers use toy cameras to make wet plates. My goal with the Holga camera was to see if it was possible to hand hold a wet plate camera and take snapshots. With the use of Profoto lighting equipment (strobes and HMI) I found this was possible to do. I like the idea of capturing candid movements using a 19th-century process.

ROBERT | You are experimenting a lot, which is seen in wet plate formats that you are making. But you’ve done something almost unthinkable; you freeze the movement with wet plate technique, recorded a skater in motion. How did you do it? What kind of lighting and lens were used?

IAN | Freezing the skateboarder in motion is one of my greatest accomplishments. I have a back ground in shooting action sports; this is how I first learned photography. Once I learned wet plate photography, I was immediately drawn to the works of Eadweard Muybridge. He captured a horse with all four of its feet off the ground in the 19th century. No one had ever seen anything like this at the time. I wanted to see if I could freeze time by using modern lighting techniques. I used eight 2400-watt Profoto packs with twin heads. The camera I used was an 8×10 Deardorf camera with a Schneider lens.

BLUR magazine | Wet Plate | issue-38