Photographer Ian Ruther’s Video Silver & Light came up in my Facebook feed a few weeks ago and I was deeply amazed by what I saw. Silver & Light showed up at a time when I was lost in thought about the value of digital photography. In truth nearly every frame I have shot professionally has been shot with a digital camera and saved to a hard drive as a collection of ones and zeros, not a strip of negatives or a slide slipped into a sleeve, into a binder and onto a shelf. I still have a loupe and a collection of cameras which will shoot film if I can find the time to make that happen. Recently I loaded a nearly new, yet ten year old Nikon F100 with a roll of Tri-X with the intention of shooting some portraits. I will get around to this but it seems like one of those things on the get around to it list like hanging a head board, fixing the drawer in the kitchen and shampooing the engine bay of the car I drive. I would like to shoot film, I would like to do it with some regularity before I loose the option, I would like to shoot 36 frames each one deliberate and considered knowing each frame shot to test light or composition is one less that will count in the take.
Silver & Light is a reminder that there was once something magical about photography and the way chemistry, metal, glass and light conspired together to capture the reflected light of our world. Ruther is not a throwback, but rather a Historian practicing Alchemy to preserve a medium and reframe how we see photography. I often wonder if modern photography has become too much about the technology and too little about the methodology, that it has become too easy, too cheap. I just listened to a BBC Podcast in which UK Photojournalist Nick Danziger suggested that limiting digital devices, iPhones, iPads, Mobile Phones to one photograph a day could make the world a more interesting and captivating place. I think Ian Ruther’s work is a perfect embodiment of Danziger’s idea.
Watch the video: