The gateway into art can come from any inspiration.
Photographer and graphic designer Tyson Ruhge attributes skateboarding for sending him down his current artistic path.
Ruhge has been skateboarding since he was eight, but in middle school, he borrowed his parent’s digital camera to take pictures of his friends while skateboarding.
“That ended up morphing into us doing stupid stunts/skits (inspired by Jackass),” he said. “I was in eighth grade when I first decided to ‘edit’ some video we shot. I hooked up the video camera we used to a VCR or TV and began recording/editing the parts I wanted onto a blank VCR tape. I started to add music using a similar method and a CD player.”
In high school, he and his friends started taking skateboarding seriously and came up with a team: Team Broken
That led him to creating his first logo design for the team, which led him to learn web design in order to produce content to promote the team.
“I then scraped together enough money to buy a cheap video camera from a pawnshop,” he said. “I started to learn video editing on a computer at that point and fell in love with the process which eventually led me to the creation of Obscure Diamond Productions with a friend of mine (Lee Pellman) for music videos and design within the music industry.”
Now, Obscure Diamond Productions has become his full-time career.
“We do such a wide range of projects there is always something new and exciting we are getting ourselves into,” he said. “Outside of running the business, my time is taken up by watching my six-month old son, disc golf, and just spending time with friends and family.”
The photography includes capturing the highest quality still images, such as portraits, headshots, concerts, parties, events, products, and cannabis.
Located in Chicago, Obscure Diamond Productions strives to become the premiere Midwest cannabis photographers, from grow-room shots to extreme macros or creative design for sets. They shoot everything from handheld single shots in the grow to photo stacking extreme macro shots under studio lighting.
“Within graphic design we have done logos and branding, product labels, flyers, and just curating creative stylized graphics using our photography,” he said. “The video we have done with cannabis has been pretty limited to just 360 degree nug and branch shots, along with mixing in some function shots on high end glass for smoking.”
Along with connections he had in the medical cannabis industry, involving cannabis into his artistic endeavors was a natural process of creating projects for clients who had a focus on cannabis.
“My good friend who started Murdock Craft Cannabis, moved from Chicago to Michigan and began to grow for medical purposes. He realized the marketing value of having quality images and video of his product and invited me up to come try my hand shooting his flowers. Having some of the best product I’ve seen as subject really helped pull me in to enjoying the process of shooting flowers. From just being let loose in the grow room to setting up studio style stacked macro shots and using dynamic lighting, I really enjoy every second of the process.”
At some point in the process of most projects, the consumption of cannabis will find its way into his process.
“I typically try to look at projects with a sober mindset, and then also after smoking to help give a little different perspective,” he said. “I feel I can get stuck sometimes in either state of mind and it helps to come back with a different eye and usually can figure out what was missing or needed changed.”
Cannabis consumption also helps him hunker down and focus at the tedious task of video editing.
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