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How A Photographer Made A Van Into A Camera

Photographer Ian Ruhter gets back to the essence of image capture by converting his van into a camera that produces gorgeous wet-plate photos.

Ian Ruhter stands in the back of a van that looks like a giant ice cream truck. He is awash in a the shimmery light reflected from a rippled lake nearby. It’s a moment he wishes to capture for all time. He’s not only taking a picture from within the van; he’s taking a picture with the van itself.

Using the collodion process, a method of photography that dates back to the 1850's, Ruhter was able to convert his van into a camera that takes brilliant wet-plate photos. He is currently driving his camera around the country, looking for beautiful moments and visual stories to preserve.

"Everyone around me had the same camera, with the same signature," Ruhter says in the above video detailing his project. "I decided I was going to build a camera that no one has."

His project is about much more than just being different, however. Ian Ruhter had wanted to be a photographer ever since he was a child, and through working with raw materials and creating his own film, he was able to get back to what excited him about the medium in the first place.

See more of Ian’s work and ask him to come to your town here.