Tru Studio, made up of husband and wife team Steve and Anne Truppe, have always had a deep appreciation for process, craft, and culture. So when Rodale’s Organic Life reached out to their photography rep about photographing a couple who grows and uses indigo to make art and tapestries, they were happy to take the job.
With little notice, Tru Studio jumped on the road and made the journey from Chicago, Illinois down to Bloomington, Indiana, where Rowland and Chinami Rickett grow and process their indigo. The ancient dye has existed for over a millennium, with a rich history of usage, including being used to dye the original American flag.
Steve and Anne have always gravitated towards projects where they have the opportunity to photograph complete visual stories, especially those that document the creative process. The immersion into the story and lifestyle of other artists is what inspires them to create work that people connect to.
This project was right up our alley as it gave us the opportunity to spend the entire day with the Ricketts–sharing stories, getting to know one another, and diving in deep to their craft and lifestyle.
The project became a small, intimate experience, starting out with a morning of chatting over tea and connecting over a shared love of Japan, where Rowland and Chinami originally met and studied indigo processing.
Our morning began with getting to know one another and connecting over Japan–sharing stories about the beautiful culture and country that we were lucky enough to experience first-hand the previous year.
They also spoke a bit about the Ricketts cyclical process from growing the plant to composting, dyeing, finishing textiles, and then pouring leftover dye back into the field as a fertilizer. Learning more about the process beforehand helped Steve and Anne to better prepare for what shots they needed and the pieces of the indigo process that needed to be documented.
Learning about indigo and the Ricketts process was absolutely fascinating. Their commitment to sustainability and doing things the right way even when it’s more difficult was inspiring to us.
Despite some bumps in the road, including Steve having a tooth removed the same day they headed down to Bloomington, the shoot was successful, and the results were stunning.
The reaction has been extremely positive. We’ve been told that we were the perfect fit and captured the Rickett’s story beautifully. That always feels good to hear on a project we are passionate about.
Although nothing is currently planned, Steve and Anne are hoping to work with Rodale’s Organic Life again in the near future.
To see more of Tru Studio’s work, visit tru-studio.com.