After a disastrous photographic journey through Yosemite a year and a half ago, Ian Ruhter set out out to redeem himself and reclaim the faith he lost in himself.
Ian Ruhter built a huge camera. He put it in the back of a truck and he drives it around as a mobile darkroom to create images using the Collodion process. It’s an expensive and time-consuming process that raises the stakes on getting the shot right.
When he set out to photograph Yosemite a year and a half ago, none of his images came out right. The process just didn’t work. It was a tremendous failure that not only cost him financially but also took a toll on his pride and his faith in what he does. He says,
“I believe, in life, that we experience these great failures and somehow they get into our heads to where we don’t even believe that our own dreams are possible.”
Armed with a new found appreciation for his past failures, he and his team set out to once again accomplish what they weren’t able to a year and a half ago. He says,
“I look at it now and maybe I wasn’t ready for it. Maybe you can’t just show up here and be amongst all these great photographers. Maybe you have to put in your dues.
I’m sure they experienced hard times and I never really factored that in. I don’t think anyone does because you just see the end product of the good days. But it’s interesting to think that they must have had horrible days when things weren’t working and they must have felt the same way.”
Seeing the work that he was able to accomplish at Yosemite, it’s clear that his journey was worth it; that his failures have made his accomplishments that much more gratifying. He says,
“I lost the ability to believe in my own dreams. And that was my biggest failure.
If I were to stop working on this after a couple of failures I never would have been able to experience the feeling I have right now which is so amazing, nothing can describe it.”
For those of us who set out to accomplish great creative works, sometimes things won’t add up. Sometimes, we will just fail horribly and sometimes inexplicably. And while it can be tempting to just give up and pack up everything, Ian Ruhter and many people just like him have shown that if you really love what you do, it doesn’t matter how hard you fail. All that matters is that you get back up and find the strength to believe in yourself and the work you set out to accomplish.
Check out his previous trip to Yosemite.
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