Ian speaks on embracing the past while utilizing technological advances of the future to find the component—and creative fulfillment—he searches for.

The theme for the Apri 5, 2013 was ‘The Future’ featuring notable photographer and alchemist Ian Ruhter.

In this talk, Ian reflected on his upbringing, challenges as a child, successes and failures as a photographer and how, by losing his way and journeying back to the mid-nineteenth century where one paints with silver and light, and how this revelation in which he embraced the past while utilizing the technological advances of the future allowed him to find the component—and creative fulfillment—he was searching for.

A few notable comments (paraphrased) by Ian: “If everything happens for a reason, maybe the future is already written. Do I have control of my destiny or is it fate?” “Photography gave me a voice and that was the missing link I had been looking for my whole life.” “The ability to dream is what makes things possible. I work in the space of my dreams and thoughts.” “Dyslexia is my greatest gift. That’s what led me to the gift of photography.” “I could make my own film. If I learned how to make it no one could take that away from me.” “When the first plate worked, we were like, whoa, now what? It would’ve so much easier if it had failed.” On the DTES: “Every city you go to has the same kinds of problems. Being in places like this inspires me.”

About the speaker

Ruhter really is both photographer and alchemist. When for him the craft of photography evolved into something less personal and true, even vapid and uninspiring, he sought a new way to approach his craft, and he found his future in the past. By using a very old approach to photography, he is now exploring stories, people and places though the lens of the world’s largest portable camera and records life using a wet plate process from the 1850’s. His project Silver and Light is a risky exploration of inspiration, passion and creative process, and his videos have become an Internet sensation.The project tells many stories both in print (metal plates) and the videos that offer compelling insight into peoples’ lives, fears and success. Ian will share how how, by losing his way and journeying back to the mid-nineteenth century where one paints with silver and light, and how this revelation in which he embraced the past while utilizing the technological advances of the future, allowed him to find the component—and creative fulfillment—he was searching for.

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