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Friday, July 20, 2018

Weekly Post: The Daze of My Life: Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography


Biographies are studies of someone's life based on cumulative research. Good ones may reveal something, but probably barely scratch the surface of what actually went on. The internet is allowing me to do something VERY different. 
~Robert Glenn Ketchum




Friday, July 20, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #107:
Daze, #107:  I am doing very different things with my different cameras. The body of work I am building with my 35mm camera is B&W, and minimalistic. The color work I am doing with a 4x5 view camera, and rather than being pictures ABOUT the landscape, my images turn the landscape into an abstraction of color, line, and detail. I first “saw” the possibility of making these images, when I took one of my early color photographs in Sun Valley. “Cottonwood Thicket” (post #43) uses the intense detail of brush and twigs - thousand of lines amassed in one bush - to create color. Throughout the 70’s, while teaching in Sun Valley, and adventuring in the Rockies with my friends, I developed a body of color work that pursued that visual idea further. The prints sold well, but to my eye, there was a monotony of color, and not the stunning palette I could see in the work of Eliot Porter. By the end of the 70’s I am visiting the East Coast frequently to work on a book for Harry Abrams about aquaculture, and begin the assembly of the exhibition I proposed to the National Park Foundation. That exhibition is going to require a massive amount of research and print gathering from the artists that I am hoping to include, all of which will be done from the offices of the NPF, so it is clear to me that I will be moving to DCfor awhile. During my plane visits, I establish a home to rent in Glen Echo, just outside the city. The, on my next trip east, I combine my moving needs with my project research, and I take a LONG, circuitous drive to Washington, that involves meeting and interviewing photographers, working with them to select prints, and making arrangements for the prints to be delivered to the NPF. First I travel north to Carmel and San Francisco where I connect with Ansel AdamsJim AlinderBrett & Cole Weston, William Garnett, and Richard Misrach. Then, I head south to Santa Fe, NM where I spend time with Eliot Porter, William Clift, and Paul Caponigro. I also visit museum collections along the way, in particular the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, TX. I do little of my own photography on the drive because I am SO focused on the curatorial process, but once settled in DC, fall has arrived, and to have a look at it, I throw my 4x5 in my van and take a drive along the Potomac Parkway. When I see this, I pull on to the median, and set up my camera, but I am not sure what it is that I am supposed to be taking a picture of. On the view screen of a 4x5, the image is upside-down and backwards, so it is fairly abstract already, but when all of this swims into view as I move the camera about, I realize THIS is the “Eliot Porter” color I have been searching for in my western work, and it IS HERE in these eastern forests, where I am now living.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Weekly Post, FISHFARMS: Forming My World View through Aquaculture in 1977 by Robert Glenn Ketchum

FISHFARMS:  Forming My World View through Aquaculture in 1977
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



In 1977, I was commissioned by Elisabeth Mann Borgese to help do research, interviews, and take photographs for a book she was writing about worldwide aquaculture. It would be published by Harry N. Abrams, one of the world’s premier publishing houses, famous for their beautiful books. It would also involve around-the-world travel to 8 countries, and some of the most remarkable places I would ever visit. SEAFARM: The Story of Aquaculture was a very successful publication featuring over 100 of my images, and an exhibit I assembled with support from Nikon, became a Smithsonian traveling exhibition for 6-yrs., viewed by over 6-million people.  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum





Friday, July 20, 2018

FISHFARMS: Forming My World View through Aquaculture in 1977, #13:
Fish Farms #13:  Fearing some kind of bureaucratic backlash, Elisabeth, her colleagues, and I are left in the dark in market devoid of shoppers, because the owner of the store believes my pictures of his place will be misused, so he has sent everyone home, and turned out the lights. We stand around for a few moments laughing about the weirdness of it all, and I can see that our Russian associates, although joking with her, are embarrassed that this has happened. With no actual shoppers to photograph, I fake a few stupid pictures with Elisabeth, and then we leave as there is nothing further that we can accomplish. It is very unfortunate this has happened because it is a great store, and it was quite busy when we arrived. Shots of that would have been perfect for the book. Apparently, it is just part of a bad day. When we return to our hotel, we are informed that we have NOT been given permission to go to the Volga to see sturgeon/caviar farming, and that is the final straw for Elisabeth. She immediately makes plane reservations for India, and we will leave tomorrow evening, flying all night, and arriving in Bombay (Mumbai) early in the morning. Disappointed that we are not going to stay any longer, our Russian friends plan a huge banquet and invite many others that know her, but with whom we have not yet visited. The location is spectacular - a grand ballroom in a magnificent hotel. The table is gigantic, seating more than 20 of us. The food is excellent, and I have my first experience with Russian alcoholism. These are people that like to drink, and they expect you to as well, and we did. Thank god nothing was planned for us the next day, because I was pretty wounded.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Weekly Post: STONED IMMACULATE: A Trip in the Desert by Robert Glenn Ketchum

STONED IMMACULATE:  A Trip in the Desert
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



As a young photographer, two places I “discovered” by chance greatly influenced both my photographic vision and my personal relationship with the greater planet. A previous blog, LIMEKILN, is the story of the first location. THIS is the second location which I discovered because my car broke down. As Jim Morrison/The Doors wrote, “Out here we is stoned Immaculate!"





Monday, July 19, 2018
“Essexite Gabbros"
circa 1985-1995

Stoned Immaculate, #88:
Immaculate, #88:  from the portfolio, STONED IMMACULATE

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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SUNDANCE: Artist-In-Residence by Robert Glenn Ketchum

SUNDANCE:  Artist In Residence
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



From 1987-1989, Robert Redford invited me to become the first visual Artist-In-Residence at his newly established Sundance Institute, part of the community he was building around his recently purchased ski resort in Utah. The residency provided me with subject matter that produced some of the most significant images of my career, but importantly, it also afforded me my first aerial work, a platform that would become increasingly important throughout my life. A limited amount of these images were ever published, and NONE of the aerials ever were. The best will now appear, please enjoy!  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum






Thursday, July 19, 2018

SUNDANCE: Artist In Residence, #1:
Sundance #1:  In the late summer of 1987, I am very busily working in my studio on numerous stories and projects when the phone rings. The voice tells me, he is Robert Redford. I have never met him, and certainly have no reason to believe the actual Robert Redford would be calling me, so thinking it is a friend pranking me, I simply say, “Sure you are,” and hang up. Some minutes pass and the phone rings again. This time the voice says, “Before you hang up, we have a mutual friend, Eelco Wolf.” Eelco Wolf was a friend, a collector, and a significant representative of Polaroid, so mentioning him gets my attention. “Did I just hang up on Robert Redford?", I ask, which he affirms. The next question is then, “Why are you calling me?” Robert does a lot of work on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), with whom I work on the Tongass campaign, so he is aware of the effort I am putting into that, and he suggests I might enjoy “a place to retreat.” He has purchased a small, local ski resort outside of Provo, UT and he has now created a foundation and the Sundance Institute, dedicated to the arts, and in particular film. There have been some writers, filmmakers, and dancers, he has invited to the institute for a residency, but not yet a visual artist, and he wonders if I would like to be the first. What do you think?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Weekly Post, ARCTIC: At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change

ARCTIC:  At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



In 1993, I began traveling to the Arctic. I have been across The Northwest Passage by yacht; to the North Pole twice; to little-visited Russian islands; and aboard research vessels in Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, and Baffin Island, taking the opportunity to visit Iqualuit, the capital of Nunavut, the recently created Inuit nation and territories.





Wednesday, July 18, 2018


ARCTIC:  At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change, #101:
ARCTIC, #101:  Our day of play on the huge ice floes around “Itasca” is pretty funny, what with people being towed around on snowboards, and our female cabin attendants sporting bikinis. Unfortunately, the revelry is short-lived. We all eventually do get cold (well, except for John Bockstoce whose is warmed by his rum), so one-by-one, we all return to the warm interior salon. Even John eventually shows up, as the polar bears apparently did not get him,..this time! In the course of the day, there has been little “Itasca” has been able to do with her position, and Captain Jouning does not want to bash her into heavy ice if it won’t get us anywhere. By late afternoon it also appears the weather is turning again, so Bill suggests that before it does, the copter should go for a scout to see if there is any change in the density of the floes. As I have gone up with the copter on every day it has flown, I have to say, this is the most intimidating perspective yet. We are surrounded by huge ice islands. There is also a rising wind, and as large as they are, you can see their movement. This is exactly what is pushing “Itasca” around.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Weekly Post: Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands - Bowing before St. Elias by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands - Bowing before St. Elias
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

The Yakutat Forelands are where the Tongass rainforest and the Chugach forest to the north meet. It is also home to many large glaciers, a stunning coastline, the huge Alsek-Tatshenshini river, and Icy Bay, which sits at the foot of Mount St. Elias, the greatest vertical rise from sea level in the world. There is a lot of powerful energy out here.



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands - Bowing before St. Elias, #80:
The Yakutat Forelands, #80:  As our kayak paddle to the far shore begins, the rain intensifies. We are also going to encounter a strong cross-flow of current because the 18ft.-tide is changing and staring to flow out. It will drag a lot of ice with it so we want to cross before too much ice is in our path. As we come out of our small fjord arm, however, we all have a VERY sobering moment. There are many other fjords and glaciers feeding into the larger, Icy Bay, and in the “warm” torrential, late-fall rain, the glaciers are calving A LOT of ice. That ice is now being pulled out of the fjords by the tidal retreat, and we will soon be in the path of this, if we do not cross as quickly as possible. The paddle distance is not as far as the day-trip to the chocolate waterfall, so it should not take more than 2-3 hours, assuming we navigate around this before it gets worse.

photograph(s) © copyright, Robert Glenn Ketchum, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum, @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Weekly Post: NO PEBBLE MINE: Pictures from Ground Zero by Robert Glenn Ketchum

NO PEBBLE MINE Pictures from Ground Zero
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



Since 1998, I have been working to protect the spectacular resources of southwest Alaska and the fishery of Bristol Bay. Two Aperture books, a national traveling exhibition, a massive coalition of concerned users, and a lot of personal lobbying, had it looking like we were almost there. Then Donald Trump took office claiming he would always put America, and American jobs first. SO WHY destroy a BILLION-dollar-a-year, RENEWABLE salmon fishery and over 100,000 jobs for a group of international mineral speculators that will leave us with a Superfund site to clean up, and NO fishery left edible? And yet, he did,..so please, keep saying NO TO THE PEBBLE MINE!
~Robert Glenn Ketchum






Tuesday, July 17, 2018 

NO PEBBLE MINE #305, Pictures from Ground Zero
NO PEBBLE MINE #305:  As we leave Wood-Tickchik State Park and cross over into the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, I am taking one last look around at the remarkable landscape that comprises this habitat of rivers, lakes, and mountains, and provides about 1/3 of the headwaters for the Bristol Bay fishery. Togiak will also have lakes, rivers, and magnificent terrain, but there is nowhere else I feel as radiantly alive as this park. Where the lakes are concerned, the fact many in the park come from glacial melt probably affects there constantly startling coloration, that are like few other bodies of water I have flown above. From here our flight rises a bit to follow a broad river valley, and then we will begin to climb towards alpine. Goodbye Tickchik Narrows Lodge, and once again, thank you very much, Bud Hodson, for allowing me to SEE this remarkable place.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd @NRDC @OrvisFlyFishing #NoPebbleMine #LittleBearProd

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Weekly Post: THE TONGASS: Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees by Robert Glenn Ketchum

THE TONGASS:  Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees
by Robert Glenn Ketchum
In 1985, I began a 2-year commission to explore the Tongass rainforest, the largest forest in the United States Forest Service (USFS) system AND the largest temperate rainforest in the world. It was a unique, old-growth environment under siege from industrial logging. The resulting investigative book I published helped to pass the Tongass Timber Reform Bill, protect 1,000,000 acres of old-growth, and create 11 new wilderness areas. This is the story of how that was achieved.




Tuesday, July 17, 2018

THE TONGASS:  Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees, #99:
THE TONGASS, #99:  Although the day that Philip Slagter and I fly into Walker Lake and cabin, the weather is terrible, I want to give everyone a sense of HOW BIG the walls around us are, so I am inserting this image of our plane, which in this shot, is actually coming back to pick us up on a beautiful sunny day. That is a big floatplane that seats four people and a lot of gear. It is a small speck in the airspace of this fjord, and we can hear it long before we can actually see it. Even though the day of our arrival it is raining and cloudy, low elevation visibility is excellent, and we land on Walker Lake effortlessly. Our pilot taxis us across the lake to a firm tundra bank on the far shore, where we disembark with all our gear. With a quick swing-around for the plane, he then launches off, back down-valley, returning to Ketchikan. After the noise of his engines fades, all Philip and I can hear is the patter of rain, the echoes of falling water, and the high-pitched whine of millions of mosquitoes.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, July 16, 2018

Weekly Post, High and Wild: Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers

High and Wild: Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

After receiving my MFA from CalArts, I was invited by Bill Lund, Sharon Disney’s husband, to come stay at the families' Diamond-D Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming. Bill thought I might like to photograph in the nearby Wind River Mountains, which I did, backpacking through them extensively over the next three summers. Welcome to a world of big granite walls and huge alpine lakes!




Monday, July 16, 2018

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #47:
Wind River, #47:  As Belle Starr (my black lab), and I work our way toward the Cook Lakes, we begin to gain more elevation and the trees become fewer and farther between. This is very different terrain from my experience in previous weeks hiking around Clear Lake. Clear Lake had many trees and was in a narrow canyon between towering peaks. On this trail I am already at a higher elevation than Clear Lake, and I still have some miles to go and elevation to gain. The landscape is broad, with expansive meadows and a stunning amount of clean granite EVERYWHERE. There are streams, tarns, and small lakes everywhere, as well. Ahead of me in the distant peaks, it appears that midday weather is beginning to build, but it is hot, so I welcome some cloud cover. My backpack is 10-day-heavy, and I am tired after several hours, but the rolling domes of granite bedecked with hanging gardens, energize me, and beckon me ever upward. Belle does not like her pack any more than I like mine, but she is ready to role because there will be places to play and trout to eat when we finally stop.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Weekly Post: The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get by Robert Glenn Ketchum

by Robert Glenn Ketchum


Growing up my parents had a home near Sun Valley, Idaho. It was there that I learned to ski. Over many years I befriended members of the Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club, with whom I had both life, and art-forming outdoor experiences. I had my camera, and these are my adventures.  Enjoy!!  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum



Monday, July 16, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #115:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #115:  The hamadryads at Kane Lake usually begin to appear in the warmth of the afternoon, especially when there is good weather. Sometimes they are hard to see or find because they “disappear” amongst the rocks for sunning and swimming. In the case of the DFC&FC, these shy creatures willingly reveal themselves because we have been a “friend-of-the-lake” for many years. Shown here are two of my favorites, and they actually let me photograph them. The one in the lower image, warming on a log after swimming, is one of our favorites because she likes to picnic and drink wine. There is nothing better than great FRESH food and a bottle, or three, of lake-chilled wine to finish the day at lakeshore, after climbing about in the higher basin.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Weekly Post: Big Mountain and Glacier National Park - Expanding My Winter Consciousness

Big Mountain and Glacier National Park - 
Expanding My Winter Consciousness
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

In the early '70’s, I was doing a lot of winter adventuring with my friends in the Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club, and a client invited me to take pictures at Big Mountain, a ski resort in Montana. Glacier National Park was not far away, so I thought that might be an interesting place to explore in the winter, as well. These two locations added important work to my exhibits and portfolios, and definitely expanded/sobered my winter consciousness.




Thursday, July 12, 2018

Big Mountain and Glacier National Park - Expanding My Winter Consciousness, #50:
Big Mountain, #50:  Bob Tchirkow and I finally arrive at Avalanche Lake which is frozen over, and we are certainly in a BASIN. Except for the direction from which we have come, the sheer walls rise straight up all around us, and disappear into the snowfall that is not only heavy, but the flakes have become gigantic as well. The open expanse of the lake runs right up to the walls, and there is no gorge now between us and an avalanche. Still boggled by the one we witnessed as we came in, neither he nor I want to get any nearer to the walls than where we already are. We choose a huge tree on our side that has a wind hollow beneath it, and we crawl in there, out of the weather, to drink, snack, and occasionally poke my camera out and take a shot. The above image, “Avalanche Lake Basin (Headwalls in a Blizzard)” becomes another from this trip to be included in my future portfolio, “Winters: 1970-1980,” and a larger print of this will also be included in “Silver See,” a portfolio, published by the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies. Once again, unfortunately, Bob and I misjudge the short winter day. Our journey back down the trail is more dangerous than we expect. Going downslope with so many trees is pretty ragged, there is a lot of falling,..and then it starts to get dark. When we fall in the heavy, wet snow, it clings, making our clothes wet as well,..and we are tiring. Then, rather abruptly in the growing darkness, the roar of the creek is close once again, and the bridge appears before us. We are back! Crossing the bridge to head for camp, we encounter a BIG, shaggy, snow-covered mountain goat, that just stands and stares at us, then disappears into the trees. I am sure we surprised him. Camp is a mess, as the heavy snow has squashed the tent and covered equipment. One of our two stoves will no longer light, and almost everything is wet. We survive the night, ski out in the early morning hours, and have a GREAT breakfast in a cafe. One feature story in POWDER magazine, and three new images for my portfolio are part of my expanding winter consciousness, and I hope you have enjoyed these “visits” to Montana that helped to shape my career.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, May 18, 2018

2018 Venice Art Walk Featuring Robert Glenn Ketchum


For more than 20yrs. I have contributed to this event. It is VERY fun!. Because of some significant sales in the past few years, I have been allowed an “oversized” contribution this year, as the committee recognizes my images have amazing detail that is best viewed at a larger scale. “Rivers of Life” is stunning at 40” wide. Come to the Google offices - view all the work being exhibited and auctioned. Eat, drink, be merry, enjoy music, AND bid up my piece. Help support healthcare for all!



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Remembering Barbara Bush


In 1987, Aperture published my book, 'The Tongass: Alaska’s Vanishing Rain Forest', which was intended to support the proposed Tongass Timber Reform Act. In the ensuing years, I spent much time in DC, exhibiting, lecturing, and lobbying on behalf of the bill’s passage. The most significant timber reform legislation in American history passed in 1990, and was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. He then invited me to the White House in 1991 to acknowledge my contributions to the effort. For the photo-op, I was ushered into a room to find both he and Barbara awaiting me. We “socialized” while the pictures were being taken, and even in such a brief period, I was struck by Barbara’s presence. The president and I exchanged formalities, and he made sure I knew he had seen the book and knew my story, as I would have expected on this occasion. Barbara, however, was like speaking with my mother, in spite of the fact I am sporting a mohawk, a long ponytail, and a diamond-stud earring, and I am sure she was glad I was not her son. Nonetheless, she wanted to know if I was married, had kids, took them with me, were my adventures scary, did I enjoy sleeping in tents - you know, mom stuff - not a word about the politics of the situation. I have never had anyone make me feel some comfortable, in an otherwise “stiff” situation, so thank you Barbara Bush for meeting with me that day as well, and may you rest in peace.

To further this story a bit, I brought along my newest Aperture book, Overlooked In America: The Success and Failure of Federal Land Management which I gave to the President during the photo-op. Given the title of the book, and the nature of my politics, the President smiled broadly for a picture holding the book, and then put it aside. After speaking with me for awhile, Barbara turned and picked it up, opening it and leafing through the pages, complimenting my pictures and asking about their locations. She was a skillful weaving of necessary Washington formality, and honest, human interest.

Orvis Supports No Pebble Mine

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