My New Ambulance

It’s been a curve-curve ball of a week…

A while back you may remember that I was inspired by the work and adventures of Ian Ruhter who makes huge Tintypes in The States using his old blue van as a giant camera — a van he affectionately calls The Time Machine.

If you haven’t seen his now-famous Silver & Light video, I’ll include it at the bottom of this post for you. Watch it. You’ll love it.

At the beginning of my own journey in wet plate collodion, I’ve been fantasising about the kind of vehicle I might own one day to use as a mobile darkroom. So, I’ve been keeping a weather eye focussed on eBay to get an idea of what’s out there for when the time comes.

As you might imagine, there’s a plethora of weird and wonderful machines available. Two weeks ago, a decommissioned NHS ambulance came up for sale and I knew instantly that it would be perfect but, in all honesty, the timing felt too soon.

Mournfully, I watched it slip away — sold to some lucky buyer who I now envied…

Envy isn’t a pleasant emotion, so I quickly expelled the memory from my consciousness and endeavoured to move on. I managed that until eBay sent me a tantalising email stating:

“An item you were watching has been relisted.”

Shucks. Now it felt like destiny. The urge was strong to see if I could possibly bring this wondrous vehicle into my life. And thus, to cut a long story short and after a marathon return trip to Cheltenham yesterday, it became so.

This vehicle — shortly to be my wet plate collodion darkroom — is simply incredible. A ready-made lab on wheels. It’s built solidly, crammed with loads of  gadgets and has effortlessly awakened childhood memories (mainly involving Lego, toy cars and Ghostbusters).

The previous owners named it Neena — get it?

Anyway, I can’t wait for the adventures that lie ahead. Here it is — my new ambulance:

Jack Lowe's Ambulance / Wet Plate Collodion Darkroom

Jack Lowe's Ambulance / Wet Plate Collodion DarkroomJack Lowe's Ambulance / Wet Plate Collodion Darkroom

Jack Lowe's Ambulance / Wet Plate Collodion Darkroom

Jack Lowe's Ambulance / Wet Plate Collodion Darkroom

Jack Lowe's Ambulance / Wet Plate Collodion Darkroom

Jack Lowe's Ambulance / Wet Plate Collodion Darkroom

As promised, Ian Ruhter’s Silver & Light:

Silver and Light Revisited

Back in December, I saw out the year with a short film showing the extraordinary working methods of Ian Ruhter.

I’ve enjoyed watching it again recently as it has a new relevance for me.

Whether or not you’ve seen it already, I really recommend making the time. It’s a cracker and a gentle reminder of what photography really is…

“There is a point in every person’s life when they must choose to follow their dreams or be stuck in the life they fear.” — Ian Ruhter

If, like me, you’re a fan of Tumblr, Ian Ruhter’s feed is a good’un too…

Silver & Light

Video

This is my last post for 2012, the year in which this site was born.

Thank you for your company, enthusiasm and support over the last few months…see you in 2013.

I’ll leave you with a short film showing the extraordinary working methods of Ian Ruhter.

“There is a point in every person’s life when they must choose to follow their dreams or be stuck in the life they fear.” — Ian Ruhter

My thanks to Ian Aitken for bringing Ruhter’s work to my attention.