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Friday, August 18, 2017

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. 
~Robeert Glenn Ketchum


Friday, August 18, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #59:
Daze, #59: There IS a third party traveling with Vicki Golden and I, and her name is Eldorado Belle Starr III, better know to all as “Belle.” This amazing dog is a black Labrador Retriever, that as a 1yr.-old, wins the California bird-dog field championships. My father purchases her as his hunting companion while he spends the fall-winter season at a home in Sun Valley, Idaho, but he realizes when he returns to Los Angeles, that Belle needs more “room-to-roam” and exercise than he has the time for, so he gives her to me, and she LOVES traveling in the van. This dog is word command obedient, and NEVER sees a leash. She also never gets left in the van. She goes everywhere that Vicki and I do, and that includes our adventures. Belle loves swimming, and snow, but most of all, she likes alpine camping, and Vicki and I do quite a bit of that. Some of what we do is pretty extreme, and presses us to backpack all the weight either of us can handle, so Belle carries her own food. The first time I put the saddlebags on her, she sits down at the trailhead and will not get up, so after repeated pleas, Vicki and I begin the hike and walk off, leaving her. About 10-minutes later she comes dragging up the trail behind us and falls into line. The moment of enlightenment occurs for her when we arrive at a beautiful alpine meadow and lake, and we take the pack off. After several moments of hesitation, she breaks into a mad-dash, crazy-dog run around the meadow and then plunges into the lake. In the future, when organizing our backpacks for a trip, she would drag hers in to us to be sure she was going along as well.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, August 11, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #58:
Daze, #58:  In the last post you could see Vicki Golden getting ready to go skiing in Utah, next to my custom, winterized van. You can also see her sitting in a sling chair, outside Joe Saviers' cabin in Idaho after a day of skiing in this blog:  post #53. Vicki is my partner, companion, business adviser, art rep, and fellow adventurer for nearly 10yrs. It is said that good things come in small packages, and she defines that concept. Maybe 5’4”, and referring to herself as a “munchkin,” her laser-focused, organizational ability to get things done allows her to fearlessly take on new challenges in both the workplace and while adventuring. Although we do come in and out of in Los Angeles regularly, most of the time, we are on the road, living out of my van, trying to build my portfolio of work, and tying our winter trips into occasional stories for POWDER magazine. When I first meet Vicki, she is doing production coordination for film crews in Hollywood and we do our first trip together when that shoot ends. When we return to LA, I continue the work I do for the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies, and Vicki decides, rather than returning to film production, that she will attempt to sell my work. Her connections in both Hollywood and the music industry are significant, and one day she introduces me to Herb Belkin who would like to buy some of my work. Herb and his family will become lifelong friends and supporters, who will not only collect my work, but will help fund many projects, and travel with me on numerous adventures in the years to come. Herb begins our relationship by making a large purchase of prints and buy giving me a lot of exceptionally mastered records. Vicki also thinks it will be a good idea to explore the new, all-photography, G. Ray Hawkins Gallery that has just opened on Melrose, and when she returns from her visit there, she informs me that she is G.Ray’s new assistant.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, August 4, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #57:
Daze, #57:  I am about to receive my MFA from CalArts. I have galleries in Los Angeles and Sun Valley, Idaho, showing me regularly and selling prints. I am serving as an exhibit curator for the formative Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies. I have standing offers to publish my work in Sun Valley Magazine and the new ski magazine, POWDER. One of my best clients, Tom Curran has just offered me work in Montana, near Glacier National Park, and,I have a really unusual place in the desert I visit regularly. I am definitely a “road warrior,” and more often than not, it is a winter road. The Camaro RS I have driven through my college years is toast because of the many terrible off-road drives I have taken with it, and as a gift to myself for the MFA, I contact the premier custom coach builder in southern California, and design my own van. It is a Dodge Tradesman with a huge 398-cubes under the hood. It is slightly raised and sports legal, but VERY toothy off-road/snow tires. It has an open-from-the-middle, double-wide side door on one side AND in back. It has a rear ladder leading to a roof platform from which to shoot, that also hosts ski racks. Inside, the bed is a fixed platform, but from the back door, a flip-up drawer can be accessed that holds 30”x 40” prints, flat. Beneath the bed is both open and closed storage. There is a closet, cupboards, and a cold-storage insulated cabinet for film. There are side-slide windows on both sides, full-swivel captains chairs in front, and lots of curtains. The entire metal shell of the van, doors, ceiling, etc. is spray-insulated with hardening foam before wood-veneer is installed over it, making for a very snug vehicle, even in extreme cold. All cooking is done outside on a Coleman stove (even in REALLY marginal weather), and dinner is often eaten on the roof in sling chairs. Today, Vicki Golden and I are emerging from a -22 night in Bryce Canyon National Park, and we are about to do some skiing for POWDER magazine. Both the van AND Vicki will play an important role in my life over the next ten years, so I hope you will continue to follow our adventures.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, July 28, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #56:
Daze, #56:  By inviting me to photograph Whitefish and Big Mountain, a little known Montana ski resort that he is hoping to help develop, Tom Curran inadvertently provides me with stories for the newly created POWDER magazine, as well as an opportunity to explore a national park that I have always wanted to visit, Glacier. I make my first trip to Big Mountain in the fall, and by now I have learned in striking job agreements with people that have real estate, always ask for them to include your lodging as part of the package. As a consequence, I have a beautiful, newly-built townhouse for my base camp, and a spectacular fall of radiant color surrounding me in the forest and along the lakeshore. After many days of shooting on-property, however, I take a break to visit Glacier, and drive in to Lake McDonald very early one foggy morning. I am barely IN the park, stopped at the edge of the lake, staring into the fog, AND THEN THIS HAPPENS - Claude Monet does a painting on my windshield. I even have the 4x5 camera with me, which I cannot get out and set up fast enough. I get one exposure, and then the fog is gone. This image, “Homage to Monet,” is printed as a 30”x 40” dye transfer, and displayed for the first time in my MFA-graduation exhibit at CalArts. It becomes one of my best-selling prints and is later translated into an embroidery in China. Glacier National Park plays an important role in both my color AND my B/W work, providing adventure and pictures that go into published portfolios and publications. This Thursday, I will start a new blog dedicated to just the work I did in Montana. I hope you will also follow:  Big Mountain and Glacier National Park:  Expanding My Winter Consciousness.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, July 21, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #55:
Daze, #55:  There are two good ski photographers that I know, who live and work in the Sun Valley area, Steve Marks and Bill Rousey. My friend, Gary Brettnacher, who photographs a lot of the Utah resorts, comes here occasionally as well. I tell David Moe I am interested in contributing to the start-up ski magazine, POWDER, that he and his bother, Jake, are trying to create, but given all the photographers I just mentioned who would cover the “normal” ski stories, I suggest to him that the DFC&FC and I could do “backcountry” stories for the magazine, and show other unusual places you might not think to ski. Of course, such stories involve some downhill skiing, but these types of stories are NOT about downhill skiing, and NO OTHER MAGAZINES EVER COVER these kinds of stories. David does not think we can do it in every issues, but he agrees to try my idea out. Simultaneously, all of this energy around my work has been supported in part by Tom Curran of Sun Valley Realty, who has used my 4-season imagery to decorate his VERY public offices. Not long after meeting David Moe and starting my relationship with POWDER, Tom asks me if I would like to work at another resort he hopes to develop like Sun Valley. It is located in Whitefish, Montana, and called Big Mountain. It overlooks Whitefish Lake, the Flathead Valley, and the Bitteroot Range, and is adjacent Glacier National Park. On the backside of Big Mountain is an area known in the winter as “The Fantasy Forest.” Those are my tracks moving through that forest (above) and you are looking towards the Bitteroots and Glacier. When Tom offers me this opportunity, it not only provides material for POWDER magazine, it gives me the chance to explore Glacier National Park. Once again, “Suggestions to travel are dancing lessons from God."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, July 14, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #54:
Daze, #54:  The story in Sun Valley Magazine about the DFC&FC repair of Pioneer Cabin, and the pictures I make of the storm during our winter visit, create ever-increasing visibility for my photographs in the Wood River Valley. A larger contingent of DFC&FC friends joins us for the final roof repair in the following summer, but with our task accomplished, the new tarpaper now covers a former phrase that was painted on the roof by Austrian ski instructors, “Ski Heil.” Since the DFC&FC and friends have now done the refurbishing, I suggest we acknowledge OUR spirit of the mountains, as ski instructors did theirs. Gordon Williams always offers encouragement before hikes and ski trips by starting the trail UP with a phrase we all knew to be true, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get.” As those words on the roof of the cabin are among the first things you see when you crest the ridge and come into the stunning view of the basin, that phrase seemed the perfect greeting. So, with weather rolling in, we paint furiously away, and sign off on what is now an iconic slogan to the Sun Valley area. Again, Sun Valley magazine does a story, AND THEN, one night thereafter in the Pioneer Saloon, I am sitting with friends, talking, and the person next to me asks if we are the DFC&FC and am I, Robert Ketchum. When I respond, David Moe, introduces himself, and tells me that he and his brother, Jake, want to start a “new style” ski magazine they are going to call POWDER, and he wonders if I would like to contribute pictures. WHAT????
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, July 7, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #53:
Daze, #53:  Our winter repairs to Pioneer Cabin are self-serving as we want to be warm by dinnertime, so glass windows are replaced and then vis-queened shut; holes in the cabin walls are boarded or plugged; all the bunk supports are replaced in some way as rusted, broken springs give way to rope lattices or board platforms; the stove is “adjusted", cleaned out, and then fired up; a lot of wood is cut, and after all that is done, we sweep and wipe everything down with water and rags. Dinner is tasty and the cabin is toasty, nonetheless, we venture out into the night to just ski around the cabin and investigate, which makes clear there is a storm coming in. Next morning it is snowing hard, but our work is done so it is now time to go skiing. We ascend a ridge from the cabin and ski along it for a good bit of the day. During our return, the storm begins to break off and puts on a show that runs until the sun sets. Watching this unfold through my lenses, it strikes me as Himalayan-esque. There is MUCH braying in our group, and skiing gives way to sitting, snacking, and watching. My DFC&FC colleague and good friend, Gordon Williams, often starts our hikes and camping trips by stating, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get.” at the trailhead. So far, he has been right every time. TY, Stein!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, June 30, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #52:
Daze, #52:  Late in the fall, my friends in the DFC&FC suggest we hike into Pioneer Cabin and explore the upper basins of the Pioneer Mountains, using the cabin as a base camp. The cabin is in a SPECTACULAR location, but it clearly needs to be refurbished sometime soon or the weather is going to destroy it. We have several days of great hiking and ever-changing skies, including the first snow of the season, and on the walk back down from the cabin, I begin to realize what A GREAT PLACE it is AND how we might be able to do something cool to help refurbish it (as well as create a new adventure for the DFC&FC). Upon return to Sun Valley, I contact Glenn Cooper, for whom I teach the photography workshop program at the art center, and I suggest if my friends and I do some rebuild on the cabin, we can make a great picture story out of it for Sun Valley Magazine, indirectly promoting the workshop and the SVCAC. Further, I suggest that we could also generate community goodwill for the Janss Corporation that was developing the real estate around Sun Valley, because she was a good friend of theirs and I want her to ask them to contribute - NOT money, but rather a couple of helicopter rides for transporting building materials AND those building materials. As winter comes, snow is beginning to cover discarded construction materials at sites around the valley, glass, nails, tarpaper, unused wood scraps, etc. AND I want that material to do the rebuild. Glenn LOVES the idea, and passes it on to the Janss, who also like it. The construction materials are collected. I propose a “winter” delivery, where we will work on the cabin from the inside-out, and then finish the exterior the following summer. Accordingly, I am introduced to Danny Danielson, the local helicopter pilot and we are good to go. The above is the cover shot of Sun Valley magazine showing Danny and supplies arriving for a second drop at the cabin. Look at that view!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, June 23, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #51:
Daze, #51:  My relationship with the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies and the development of the Paul Outerbridge collection and exhibition (post #50) spans many years during which I receive my MFA from CalArts, and continue my commute to Sun Valley. Many opportunities present themselves in Sun Valley because teaching a successful photography workshop program makes me quite visible. In several previous posts, I thank Gail Severn Gallery for representing my work in the area, but I must now thank the first person to exhibit me, Mollee Hecht, who owned the popular Ex Libris bookstore on the Sun Valley “mall.” Glenn Cooper, the driving force behind the Sun Valley Creative Arts Center, also notes the buzz about the workshops, and the prints in the bookstore, so she asks if I would like to contribute pictures to Sun Valley Magazine, as that might further promote the workshops. I take the opportunity to not only show work, but I write some poetry accompaniment as well. Most importantly, I realize I have access to a regular publication as a small platform. Glenn grows increasingly supportive, and I suggest to her another idea: besides myself, my friends in the DFC&FC also take pictures, and many of those are of hikes or adventures in the surrounding area that would appeal to guests. I propose our group of DFC&FC photographers do a weekly evening slide lecture in the main Sun Valley lodge, to which she agrees. We rotate through several lectures, and the word goes out. We are standing room only very quickly, so by the end of summer, we do two nights a week. These lectures become really fun slideshow parties that spill out into the bars later. Now we are driven to make more pictures and take more adventures, so my DFC&FC colleagues suggest a trip into the Pioneer Mountains (above) this time, to a place called Pioneer Cabin. If you want to follow THAT story, you have to follow THIS blog.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, June 16, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #50:
Daze, #50:  California Institute of the Arts is, quite literally, brand new, and has only recently opened. I am among the first students in the MFA program in the arts. The school operates on semesters with extended holiday breaks, so winter and summer breaks are spent in Sun Valley with friends in the DFC&FC skiing and backcountry adventuring, and teaching for the Sun Valley Creative Arts Center. Shorter breaks find me in the desert in Nevada, and in the foothills of the Sierras above 3 Rivers. When in Los Angeles, I do not shoot much, but rather go to school, work in the darkroom, and try to connect with galleries and the community of photographers I knew from my undergraduate years at UCLA. I get lucky and DeVorzon Gallery on La Cienega agrees to represent me, AND I connect with the formative Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies, whose board I eventually join. In our earliest years, we have many active programs, especially exhibits staged in a wide variety of locations. Before becoming board members, Victor Landweber and I co-chair the exhibition committee and organize some great shows, cooperating with LAICA, the Municipal Gallery at Barnsdall ParkSecurity Pacific Bank, and USC. Our first efforts are small but noted and reviewed. He and I agree, though, it would be great for our organization to win NEA recognition, which we might do with one great idea. Then one day, I am contacted by the G. Ray Hawkins Gallery (one of the newest photography galleries to open) and asked if I would like to meet someone that might have access to interesting vintage work of the first important color photographer, Paul Outerbridge, Jr., who happened to have lived in Laguna Beach. I am DEFINITELY interested and soon find myself in Laguna at his widow’s home, going through her trunks of his “stored things.” There are cameras, personal letters, diaries, and in 3 carefully packed boxes, over 550 platinum and carbro-color, hand printed images defining the best work of his career. On behalf of LACPS, I assume the project, assemble a beautiful exhibit that is elegantly framed by Randolph Laub and opens at the G. Ray Hawkins Gallery. Funded by an NEA grant, LACPS produces the above catalog, and tours the exhibit to the Center for Creative Photography in Arizona, and the Robert Miller Gallery in New York. The Time-Life Photography Annual for 1976, calls the uncovering of the collection “the photographic discovery of the decade” and creates a lengthy feature of it for the annual.
photograph of LACPS/Outerbridge catalog cover © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
photograph on cover of LACPS catalog © copyright, Paul Outerbridge, Jr., 2017 @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, June 9, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #49:
Daze, #49:  Excuse my technical digression here, but I would like to explain my thinking and purpose behind these images, and indeed, the entire 24-print portfolio, “WINTERS: 1970-1980.” I realize that my association with my adventuring friends in the DFC&FC is taking me into some very unusual places during our winter trips, and I am often in such extreme conditions that large camera formats are unworkable, BUT the 35mm systems can take the beating, moisture, and cold, so they are my tools of choice. Criticism from the traditional landscape photographers and curators holds that I can not achieve enough detail or tonal breadth from the smaller film and format to have the work taken “seriously." However, having gone through considerable technical training at Brooks Institute, I have another plan. To achieve good separation of tones in a print, every lighting condition from flat to bright, has a SPECIFIC film development time to optimize tonal quality. Flat lighting gets a long development, bright lighting is a much shorter development time. I am told because I shoot with roll film, it mixes lighting conditions so some exposures will be perfect and others will be badly compromised. The solution to this problem is actually quite simple. I buy my film in 100ft. rolls, and I buy reloadable film canisters, so I can create “rolls” of film that are only 5-10 images long, and I shoot all the images on these short rolls in the SAME lighting conditions so I can control the development in the same way large format users do. Further, the world I am exploring does NOT have the Ansel Adams, perfect tonal spread of black, white, and 13 shades of grey. Many of my subjects have just one or two tones and they both may be middle grey, or conversely, dense black and bright white with few shades in between. These images I am making are definitely NOT user-friendly views of idyllic settings.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, June 2, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #48:
Daze, #47:  Although I begin the graduate program at CalArts, I commute regularly back to Sun Valley, Idaho to adventure with my friends (see above, and here):  and to promote my presence as a photographer in the area. I also make regular camping trips to the Nevada desert to continue the work I am doing there. I am shooting with both color & B&W, and I am using my 4x5 view camera as well as my 35mm cameras, because I feel each is suited to some “particular” approach to the landscape the other does not afford, and I feel I would like to “maximize” what that is, IF I can figure it out. At the moment, I see two views of the color landscape - one is expansive tones of harmonious colors across uninterrupted, uncluttered space; the other is an overwhelming composition of details whose aggregate presence combines to create a hue. Both of these viewpoints I am pursuing with the 4x5. While I do shoot with that camera when I am in Sun Valley, I use my 35mm system much more because my friends in the DFC&FC and I are going to places, and in conditions, into which I simply will not/cannot drag a view camera. Nor do I want to subject my friends to waiting for me while I deal with the tediousness of working with it. On the other hand, the 35mm cameras accompany me into some astounding circumstances which I increasingly see as very B&W. The only problem is, as I AM TOLD THIS REPEATEDLY - LANDSCAPE IS A VIEW CAMERA SUBJECT. NO ONE WILL TAKE YOUR WORK SERIOUSLY IF YOU SHOOT 35MM. The reasoning? The smaller camera GENERALLY does not deliver the same sharpness and detail. It is also seen as inferior to large format because it takes pictures by the roll. A view camera user processes one image at a time, controlling the processing of each film sheet to EXACTLY suit the lighting conditions of the subject, giving the film and print the most tonal separation possible. A roll of film may have many different lighting circumstances, some of which would be best served with one processing time, but then the effect on other images would be terrible.This is the moment that the time I have spent taking the technical classes at Brooks Institute is about to pay off.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, May 26, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #47:
Daze, #47:  The last work that I complete at Brooks Institute is a portfolio of landscapes that I have been creating during my time there, and I intend to use them for my entrance submission to the graduate program at CalArts. (Interestingly in retrospect, this portfolio would be the last manipulated work that I would do until 2006, when I would, once again, begin “coloring” leaves, but this time in Adobe.) Reflecting both the influence of Heinecken and Teske in my undergraduate program at UCLA, and my visits to Limekiln Creek, my CalArts MFA submission portfolio consists of a series of prints mounted on rag pages inside a wrap cover, like a very large book. The images are all 8”x10” B&W’s, and some of the pages feature a calligraphy text. As the pages turn and the series progresses, various forms of coloring begin to appear in the prints, and some of the prints are also darkroom manipulated. The text talks about “dreamtime” and “perceiving the REAL world.” The sequence ends with this, “Snow Flowers,” a B&W image printed in reverse and then hand-painted with transparent oil paints. I finish my classes at Brooks, and AM accepted to the MFA program at CalArts, so now my commuting to Idaho and Nevada continues, but my work begins to focus in a new way. I become more interested in the power of the unaltered photograph that SEEMS otherwise, but is in fact, straight and unaltered (posts #23, #44, and #45), AND I consciously want to make my work environmentally useful/political, although I am not quite sure what that means yet.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, May 19, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #46:
Daze, #46:  Back at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, I am nearing the end of my first year when the technical teaching will end. I have learned to shoot with a view camera, print exhibit quality B&W, and work with color. Now they would have me choose a field of specialization such as “wedding photography,” or perhaps learn to manage a large studio and shoot huge products like cars. There is no specialty for “landscape,” so I am applying to the brand new graduate program that has just opened at the formative California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). At Brooks, I have always been in the top 5 of my class, and of all of us, I am the one in class that is the most irreverent about Brooks’ desires to shape our work as well as our personal appearance (they did NOT like my long hair). They also found my landscapes “technically acceptable” as good photography, but the subject matter was considered dismissible and pointless (how will you make any money taking these pictures?). And, of course, when women were photographed, they were models or brides. There were “no nudes allowed.” That is, until the final project of our first year, when we are told we are free to do “anything we want.” It is also suggested we “be inventive.” So, I am. This is “Radiant Woman,” an 8”x10", hand-colored and airbrushed, multiple solarization of a nude, very non-model-model in the landscape (real women have curves). You can hear the squacking when I put this up in class, which ends quite soon in complete silence as my teacher begins to inspect this print. He stares for some time, then turns and says,”You spent a lot of time to do this, do you think someone might buy it?” As I am about to respond, a classmate blurts out, “It would make a great Led Zeppelin album cover!” Everyone laughs, my teacher shrugs, and says, “Maybe, but regardless, it is a beautiful image that succeeds, so it gets away with breaking rules. Congratulations!” (Cheering is heard in the background - LOL).
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Friday, May 12, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #45:
Daze, #45:  When I make the picture, “Trail Creek Beaver Ponds,” (post #41), I am learning to print and shoot color film at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara. The first print I make of that image is using Kodak Type C color paper. Because I shoot it as a positive, I also have to make an inter-negative in order to print it on Kodak paper. The Kodak papers give me a “muddy” color spectrum that sucks all the vibrancy out of the colors in nature saturated by rain, AND the paper fades easily, so I do not like the material. In the early 70’s, Cibachrome enters the market offering a different solution to color printing. Cibachrome is a color positive paper, so I can print DIRECTLY from my transparency. It is also color rich, it offers a “true” black, AND it is promoted as having stabile, archival color. I work with it for awhile, but it is difficult to control contrast, so I use my Los Angeles contacts to find someone who knows more about this new paper, and I am introduced to Ted Staidle, who at the time has just won a Grammy Award for an album cover he created using “his” process called ”Staidlechrome.” Ted makes a VERY labored print of Trail Creek, but I am still not satisfied, and yet I CAN see promise in the Cibachrome product. As the gods would have it, during this experiment with Staidle, I meet someone else printing on Cibachrome, who suggests I might try working with a young printmaker exploring Cibachrome in Venice (CA) named Michael Wilder. I introduce myself to Michael and he agrees to “reprint” Trail Creek, the result of which are not only amazing, the original print is hanging in my living room today! Now, back in Sun Valley, I have come to realize by working in the worst of winter conditions with my 35mm camera, I am truly seeing a very different view of the landscape, SO one day during an incoming blizzard from the plains, I drag my 4x5 view camera down to the southern end of the Wood River Valley to sit and watch a storm as it rolls in. Once it starts to snow hard, the view camera is useless, but just prior to the sky falling in, I take this. When Wilder makes a print, it looks surreal and has a very real and palpable presence. At that moment, I know Michael and I are going to have a great relationship because he gets what I want to do with photography and color.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, May 5, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #44:
Daze, #44:  I am sitting on the balcony of the Sage Road/Warm Springs duplex (post #42) on a warm, late-twilight night in mid-summer. I am pondering ALL of the things going on in my life since graduation from UCLA and trying to see where it is leading me. After moving to the Wood River Valley, I needed to be employed, and as a young, unknown photographer, that requires a LOT of different jobs. Those also had to be reasonably part-time because I am commuting to Santa Barbara to attend Brooks Institute as well. During my first fall/winter, I teach photography workshop classes from my apartment at the Bald Mountain Hot Springs Hotel; I run a light show on the weekends at the The Boiler Room, an infamous bar club at the Sun Valley Lodge; although there are NO houses to photograph, as none of the proposed developments are yet built, my photographic prints gain favor with local realtors because they describe the area, so I sell many prints that get displayed in some very public offices and at a cult local bookstore and gallery; and commuting to Brooks, I discover a very “unusual” place in the desert that will affect my work greatly, and to which I will return for many years. In the following spring at Brooks, I improve my B&W printing skills, learn view camera technique, and begin to shoot and print color. In the summer, I have been invited back to Sun Valley to teach a photography workshop program for the emerging Sun Valley Creative Arts Center, so I return to the Wood River Valley, and find myself in residence in this duplex, surrounded by quite a “crew,” part of whom are local friends/members of the Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club. Thanks to their influence, I have now started to backpack, and I am cross-country skiing in the backcountry. Whew! I have A LOT of s*%# going on! And then this appears. 11pm, clouds drifting through late twilight, coming over the ridgeline of the mountain opposite the house. The sun has set hours previously somewhere out over the Pacific, but distant solar rays have found us and have begun to illuminate these clouds against our nearly-night sky. OMG! I start yelping and run for the view camera as the household comes out on to the deck to see if I have lost my mind. This becomes the print, “Madrugada,” an 11-minute exposure of radiant vapor drifting through the night. There is only 1-shot. Everyone on the balcony has to stand stock still so my camera will not shake. As this unfolds, I realize I am having my “Paul Caponigro” moment (see post #23) and that although we are all watching an event in the “real” world, another more cosmic world is on view as well. Dreamtime! Google the meaning of “Madrugada."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, April 28, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #43:
Daze, #43:  Ensconced in the duplex near the end of the pavement on Warm Springs Road, one rainy, late fall day with nothing to do, my roommates and I are joined by DFC&FC colleagues, Gordon Williams and Chris Puchner, and we decide to go for a hike past the end of the pavement. I drag my 4x5 view camera along and as I am pondering subject matter, this appears before me. The rain saturated colors of the twigs and branches glow as brilliantly as if this forest had fall leaves in the trees. I have never considered such a “barren” forest image before. I take some time getting my big camera in just the right POV while my friends stand around in the drizzle patiently waiting for me. After I make the shot, Chris Puchner says, “What the f*&% are you taking a picture of?” So, I let him look through the ground glass. His response is, “Twigs and branches?” At this moment I realize I am seeing something others do not, especially as it relates to color. Later when I make this as the print, “Cottonwood Thicket,” Chris recants his comment and agrees that these are some pretty cool looking “sticks.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, April 21, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #42:
Daze, #42:  After graduation from UCLA, I move to Sun Valley, Idaho to begin my career as a practicing photographer. During the first fall-winter, I live in the Bald Mountain Hot Springs Motel, teach photography classes out of my apartment and run the light show for the Boiler Room, a nightclub attached to the Lodge at Sun Valley. Through my photography classes, I am fortunate enough to meet prominent resident, Glenn Cooper, who is in the process of founding the Sun Valley Creative Arts Center, and she asks if I would like to teach a workshop under their auspices in the following summer. It sounds good to me, so I agree. I also ask if the teachers might have housing provided and so “friends” of the SVCAC help me find living accommodations, and I end up ensconced in a 4-bedroom duplex at the end of Warm Springs Road that is built into the hillside and looks directly at the Lower Warm Springs ski run. “Off” season I commute to Santa Barbara for classes at Brooks Institute and the picture in the previous post was a result of fulfilling an assignment for Brooks during a visit to the valley. Once summer starts, I return to Idaho, to teach workshops for the SVCAC. They are very popular AND full, so I am also able to employ other friends to teach additional classes. The rental house fills with 3 teachers and the owner’s son next door, then Gordon Williams and Chris Puchner, my colleagues from the Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club, show up and start to hang around. Friends have friends, dogs, AND girlfriends, so it is quite a summer. Many pictures important to my emerging career are made. I learn to camp, backpack, and begin skiing backcountry, taking my camera to some VERY different parts of the landscape. Above you see: THE house from which we all hold court; the Chevy Camaro I pretend is really a 4-wheel drive vehicle; and Shelley Selover, my girlfriend at the time, is visiting from LA to enjoy hiking in the mountains (not quite sure what she thought of the somewhat looney household - LOL!)
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, April 14, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #41:
Daze, #41:  The “double-cottonwood” I just photographed (previous post) is in an elevated portion of the Trail Creek flood plain, and now I am standing on a grassy bluff looking down into the Trail Creek beaver ponds where the river is currently flowing. I am trying to spot my father who is down among the meanders and pools, “sneak” fishing, but the dense willows obscure my sightline. Unless he moves, he will be hard to spot, so I am staring, straining for unexpected movement somewhere in my view. My senses are heightened. I hear the wind rustle down the canyon, and the gurgle and splash of the water slipping over and through the beaver dams. I hear an occasional bird, but my father remains hidden. Then, I suddenly realize what an amazing view I have, AT THIS VERY MOMENT. I have stood at this spot dozens of times and never seen it in this way. In the light rain and full fall color, it is radiantly beautiful, AND I am understanding it IN COLOR! I could barely set my camera and tripod up quickly enough. This will be my first shot of color film with a 4x5 view camera. Shortly thereafter my father appears. I tell him I have had a good day, and he shows me 3 beautiful trout, so he has had one too, and it is time to go eat them. When I return with my new images to Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, again my B&W print is lauded as well made, but still questioned as to subject matter. Then I present, “Trail Creek Beaver Ponds,” which I have printed at 20”x 24.” There is a palpable silence in the classroom, and then my instructor says, “THIS is a color photograph! Congratulations!” Score one for landscape - LOL!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, April 7, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #40:
Daze, #40:  Yosemite is not the only “wild” environment I drag my new 4x5 view camera into. Brooks Institute operates in sessions and we have extended breaks between them, often with a modest assignment. During our fall break, I head to Sun Valley, Idaho to visit my parents, who were there to enjoy fall, the end of fishing season, and the beginning of duck hunting. Over many years of visiting to hike and ski, I also have friends there, and a growing reputation as a photographer. On this particular break from Brooks, it is required we make a B&W image for our “portfolio,” but for the first time, we also have the option to shoot something in color - the first time we are “allowed” to shoot color since enrollment. It has been awhile since I have seen my parents and I always enjoy their company, so when in the Wood River Valley, I often spend time with my dad by joining his fishing outings. One crisp fall afternoon, I find myself accompanying him to one of his favorite spots to “sneak” fish in the pools and streams of the Trail Creek beaver ponds, one of Hemingway’s favorite places to fish as well. This time, instead of carrying a pole, I have brought my view camera, which he assures me will scare all the fish away, so I wander the larger area and leave him to his angling reverie. Trail Creek comes into Sun Valley flowing out of the Pioneer Mountains through a steep narrow valley that broadens on the plain that creates the ski resort and golf course. At that widening, Trail Creek begins to meander and creates a beautiful complex of beaver ponds. My father is down in them somewhere, and I am on drier ground above, surrounded by a lot of low scrub, some aspen, and big cottonwood trees. Then this appears:  “Gemini,” it became another exercise in my growth as a B&W photographer and printmaker and was another of the early prints my galleries would sell. Excited by what I have “pre-visiualized” my new image will be in print, and knowing I have resolved my Brooks assignment, I look for my father to tell him, and I return to the bluff above the ponds to see if I can spot where he is “sneaking."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, March 31, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #39:
Daze, #39:  Life is “interesting.” I am studying at Brooks Institute to advance my technical knowledge of photography and printmaking; I am airbrush painting surfboards and kneeboards created by Al Merrick at Channel Islands Surfboards; and, to put my new photographic skills into practice, I am dragging my 4x5 view camera to ever more adventurous locations. As an aspiring photographer of the landscape, I make the prerequisite trip to Yosemite to view the world Ansel Adams made so publicly popular with his view camera images, but I am NOT inspired to repeat the more obvious subjects and make few photographs. Then one very foggy morning I wander off the valley floor and visit the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia. I am the only one there that morning and the huge trees truly seem primeval in the patter of quiet dripping. This is “Grizzly Giant,” actually the name of one of the largest and oldest of all the trees in the grove. It is an amazing living thing, and standing there studying it through the shifting veil of fog, I CLEARLY understand that. Later, back at Brooks I am told that my selenium-toned, 50-shades-of-grey masterpiece, IS a GREAT print, and well done, BUT my instructor also offers that he hopes I can bring this much out of my next architectural shot and use my talents in a more “meaningful” way.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, March 24, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #38:
Daze, #38:  The Moon Spoon, to the left, is the larger of these two boards in all dimensions, length, width, and “thickness.” Along with the notable depression in the deck there is a spoon-shaped curve to the bottom that causes the board to push water and thus ride more slowly, but it is an amazingly fun board when you are feeling playful and waves size makes little difference. These two kneeboard/bellyboards were made from Sam’s former 9ft+ Wardy board that he rode in Hawaii, and the Moon Spoon was created from a bit more than 1/2 of the former tail section. Because the original surfboard was relatively thick, the middle of the board offered plenty of depth to shape a body scoop/knee platform, and add curve/rocker to the bottom. The nose of the former Wardy board became the Sun Rocket. The original nose was kept, but the rest of the board was paired to a razor thinness, leaving barely enough room for any knee depressions on the deck. This was my favorite board, so that was fine, I rarely went to my knees. The board was so short, I rode lying down and after take-off, I would slide forward putting my head in front of the nose and lifting my feet/fins out of the water. It was like having a turbo-charger on a car, with my fins no longer dragging, there would be a stunning burst of speed that gave the sensation of flying. Were I to have designed another board to follow this, I would have made it even smaller and it would have had a waist strap attaching me to it. That did not happen, but this quiver did, and as you can see, I decorated them as a collective group: Sam’s surfboard featured a floral lei, a crescent moon, and a rainbow; the Moon Spoon was painted with a sunset-twilight sky adorned with crescent moon and star; the Sun Rocket was the opposite - a sunrise lighting up a morning sky and clouds. Sounds to me like it is time to go surfing!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, March 17, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #37:
Daze, #37:  If you looked carefully at the last post, you may have noted that Sam’s surfboard is not much longer than the two kneeboard/bellyboards on either side. Since riding a 9ft+ board in Hawaii, Sam has since evolved to the rising popularity of a much smaller board, so this one, designed for him by Al Merrick of Channel Island Surfboards is 6’10”. Most surfboards to this point had limited “decoration” which usually involved the use of the surfshop logo design or wording, and wood “stringers” as you saw on my Wardy surfboard in post #8. In recent years, some newer short boards were starting to show painted pinstripes, or color patches on the deck. In the design program at UCLA, I had learned to use an airbrush, and Sam had seen some of the work I produced so he asked if I would like to create something completely different for his board, and we would airbrush it onto the foam before the surfboard was covered with fiberglass. I was always looking to use my skills that were NOT being applied at Brooks Institute, so Sam brought the foam board to my apartment where I did all of the airbrush work while many of my photography colleagues looked on, quite certain Sam and I had lost our minds. In retrospect, this design is obviously influenced by my summers in Hawaii. There is a floral “lei” that wraps around the deck, and on the the bottom, the two ends of the lei are connected by a rainbow arch. (Sam was so eager to ride the board, it went surfing before I could take pictures of it, so what you see here are some water droplets and brownish residue of wax on the deck after use - sorry!) Given that this was the early 70’s, I am sure some of you will recognize stylistic airbrush work, as Peter Max was using one quite a bit and I found his imagery done for the Beatles inspiring. Check the “radiant sun” designs to be seen in this link, and next week we will see my version on the “rocket” board.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, March 10, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #36:
Daze, #36:  Then there were those days when there was surf! Behold, Sam’s/our quiver. By this time, my friend, Sam Scranton, is not only taking care of Elisabeth Mann Borgese’s house and dogs in a great location RIGHT ON THE BEACH in Santa Barbara, but by the time I start Brooks Institute, he has numerous friends in the surfing community, access to “private” beaches, and colleagues at Channel Island Surfboards who are shaping a new board for him. We also have a classmate of Sam’s, Steve Sprinkel, who is around quite a bit, and he and I have both started to ride lying down, in my case inspired by the skill and filmmaking skills of George Greenough. If you have never seen his work, check thisPink Floyd featured his work in their movie, “Crystal Voyager." Steve and I are both aware of the “spoon” design kneeboard that Greenough had created and made well known, and we thought it would be fun to try and design a smaller, bellyboard version. At the same time, Sam and I discussed a “rocket” design for bigger, faster waves that might be encountered surfing Rincon or breaks at the Hollister Ranch. In this quiver, Sam’s surfboard is center, the spoon design sits to the left, and the rocket is on the right. Who did that artwork?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, March 3, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #35:
Daze, #35:  This is, “Stoney Pools,” shot with my 4x5 and printed on Dupont Velour Black with selenium toning. I probably took this picture a little further up the beach and at a lower tide than the last post. You cannot surf all the time. Often I had to keep Elisabeth’s dogs from wandering through my pictures. When I turned images like this in to my teachers at Brooks, they all agreed my techniques were good, but NO ONE could understand why I “insisted” on choosing THIS subject matter. I, on the other hand, was ecstatic that I was learning to print and wield a large format camera. In the last post, I also mentioned Brett Weston as someone whose work inspired me to learn good B&W control technology for shooting and print making. Brett comes from a family of prominent photographers. His father was the famous B&W photographer, Edward Weston and his brother, Cole Weston was among the earliest to work in color. My preference for Brett’s print making, however, was based on his stunning deep blacks and the use of strong contrasts to bring drama to the subject. If you do NOT know Brett’s work, please Google it, and follow this link to see, “Mendenhall Glacier, 1973,” one of his most striking prints and certainly one of my favorites.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, February 24, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #34:
Daze, #34:  Brooks Institute of Photography was run as a professional school, as opposed to a creative arts program. Brooks students were technically groomed to be commercial photographers and the assignments were often very studio-like, involving the shoot of portraits and products. We were also encouraged to present ourselves “professionally” on days when our work was critiqued, “as though we were meeting with an art director or a corporate client.” Of course, this suggested we should wear a coat and tie and have “manageable” hair. Mine did not qualify, but they tolerated it because I was a good student. We were also encouraged to do “independent” work beyond our assignments, and most of the teachers saw that as an excellent chance to develop a more personal commercial style for our individual portfolios. Spending more time in the studio and darkroom than I already had to, was of NO interest to me, so when I pursued my independent work, I dragged my new 4x5 camera, tripod, and lenses to the beach, where I could also get in a bit of surfing. While I appreciated the technology Brooks was teaching me, I saw myself wanting to be much more like Brett Weston than Richard Avedon. The above image is one of my first B&W’s released as an edition and sold by galleries. It was shot with a 4x5, printed 16”x 20” on DuPont Velour Black with selenium toning, and is entitled, “Return to the Sea."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, February 17, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #33:
Daze, #33:  Sam Scranton (climbing over the sea wall) and I had been friends since high school, and we spent much time surfing together both on the west coast and in Hawaii. If you have followed this blog, he is shown in post #7 “on-the-nose” with a “cheater-5,” and he reappears in post #12 as the lead guitarist in the band, “Silver Chief, Wild Dog of the North.” He went to UCSB when I went to UCLA, and as many students do, he took a “job” that also provided housing. He became the house manager for Elisabeth Mann Borgese (on right), a most unusual woman, and daughter of the German author, Thomas Mann. Elisabeth was Director of the International Oceans Institute in Malta, and also a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara. She leased a beautiful beachfront home in Montecito where she kept her “pack” of “brilliant” dogs (they could play a piano she had specially built for them), and because she traveled as often as she did, Sam managed the house and cared for the dogs. My new apartment was less than 1-mile away, and although I did not know it at the time, Elisabeth would become one of the GREAT influences of my life, AND would offer me a unique opportunity as a photographer that would change my life! (Note the very ’70’s hair styles - at this point mine is looking much like the wet dogs and is NOT appreciated at Brooks as it is considered “unprofessional.”)
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, February 10, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #32:
Daze, #32:  Excuse my technical digression here, but bare with me (a little pun there as this image has been dubbed “Snow Cheeks”- LOL). When you shoot 35mm film, there are 36 exposures to the roll, and they may all be made in differing light conditions, but they will ALL get processed in the same way, which is perfect for some shots, but not others. When you shoot a 4x5 view camera or larger, each sheet of film is processed INDIVIDUALLY allowing very subtle adjustments in developing that will maximize the tonal qualities of that particular negative, and make a much better print. I felt that the Brooks Institute of Photography would offer me a crash course in this kind of technical control, and I wanted to learn to print my own color as well. Brooks was in Santa Barbara, also attractive to me because of its proximity to great surf spots. At one point in my undergraduate years at UCLA, I actually transferred to UCSB, but then thought better of the distractions and stayed at UCLA to get my B.A. However, my high school friend and surfing colleague, Sam Scranton, did go to UCSB and now lived in the area, so I looked forward to maintaining my relationship with him while I studied at Brooks.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, February 3, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #31:
Daze, #31:  Having now graduated UCLA and moved to Ketchum-Sun Valley, ID, I was trying to establish myself as a working photographer AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, find a unique POV within my work that would make it different than what I saw around me. Given my location, I was surrounded by good ski photographers, and occasionally did shoots like that myself. More and more, however, I found myself cross-country skiing in the backcountry with my friends in the Decker Flats Climbing & Frisbee Club. I was was working in both color and B&W film, and I had a few images that were being put up in galleries and sold. In particular, I was struck by the look of some of my B&W images taken in the worst of conditions. They had a kind of ragged minimalism about them that I found both beautiful AND not part of the current language of landscape photography. The best of these images were made with my 35mm camera, and I knew the small negative, and the limited tones flew in the face of “serious” landscape photographers like Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter, BUT I ALSO KNEW, none of them had ever dragged their cameras into environments like this and tried to create images. My biggest problem was consistency in the quality of my printmaking. I did my own B&W darkroom work crudely, and labs did my color (also crudely), and I wanted more control. I was also considering larger camera formats for other subjects, and so, instead of going from a BA to an MFA directly, I detoured for 1yr. and went to the technical school, the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. In doing so, my life after graduation became quite a road trip as I circulated between school on the CA coast (think surfing), a strange location in the desert I had begun to photograph, and Ketchum-Sun Valley where I was beginning to establish a reputation. Anybody remember fold-over business cards? Above is the cover of mine, and you can see the wilder, winter subjects are becoming part of my “look,” but if you were hiring me for a more commercial job, you might wonder what it is that I take pictures of.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, January 27, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #30:
Daze, #30:  One of my last small bodies of work at UCLA was a series of hand-colored landscapes. I began this work after discovering Limekiln Creek, which I featured in this blog. As my use of the camera, paint, pencils, and airbrush became more sophisticated, I continued to experiment with my newfound rock & tree subject matter. This image was begun several years before as I showed in post #17, and it morphed many times before “arriving” here. Most of the images in this series seemed to have hallucinatory “animals” evolving out of the organic subject, and during his critique, Heinecken suggested maybe I should “adjust my meds.” Little did he or I know that it had already been done - I had found winter and the wild lands of central Idaho and some truly strange place in the desert that was far more surreal and hallucinatory than anything I had ever dreamed up in the darkroom.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, January 20, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #29:
Daze, #29:  As the 1971 yearbook covers clearly illustrate, although I had graduated from UCLA, I still continued to experiment in the darkroom and play with my images even though I had stopped shooting in the night clubs of LA and had turned my attention to the natural world. Another of my photography instructors at UCLA was Edmund Teske, who did a lot of work with a technique called solarization. Basically, you turned the darkroom light on and off quickly while still processing the print, and a lot of weird things occurred. It was VERY random and NOT repeatable, but when it worked it was a dramatic, graphic effect. Since I was no longer shooting pics of rock stars, this is my good friend and upstreet neighbor, Robert Fishman. He has not died, nor is he decomposing. Social media has not made zombies a phenomenon yet. This is just what solarization does, and Heinecken liked it enough to put it in a national show of emerging photographers that he curated. Eventually I would cease working in this way, but before doing so I produced a few other hand-colored and manipulated images that were important to my evolution, as you will see in future posts.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, January 13, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #28:
Daze, #28:  In the previous post you saw the outside jacket covers for the 1971 UCLA Yearbook. That jacket housed two volumes of pictures and notes. The front and back cover of the first book is above, the second, below. The intent of these six images reflected the yearbook’s symbolic design. As I mentioned, from 1966 to this point there was increasing political turbulence in American life, and the sometimes very confrontational streets of LA made the quietude of the UCLA campus seem like another world. The outer jacket is intended to reflect the future LA - lots of tall buildings and a complex supporting infrastructure. Interestingly at the time, I used the then-under-construction, Century City as my “location.” Since those were the first tall buildings on the westside of LA, the skyscraper-concrete environment felt like “Bladerunner” to me. By contrast, the campus had open skies, lots of trees, flowing water, and in the midst of the “real” world, seemed rather dreamlike. When I consider this design now, I am struck by elements that continued to reappear in my work throughout my career: the black background to offset bright color; layers of bright color, sometimes using them to distort spacial relations; and, the circular motif.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, January 6, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #27:
Daze, #27:   For a time in the late 60’s, I lived on Ogden Drive, just off Santa Monica Blvd. near the intersection with Fairfax Blvd. This positioned me close to the Sunset Strip and the clubs in which I was photographing, and it was also convenient to second job I held in nearby Beverly Hills. As my fascination with the club scene began to shift - my friends say I went from rock-and-roll to rocks-and-trees - I moved back to the home of my parents which was within walking distance of UCLA. It did not exactly divorce me from music, however, as one of my best friends, Robert Fishman, lived up the street, and Lou Adler occupied a home between us. One evening walking to Robert’s, I encountered Lou saying goodnight to Pete Townshend of the Who, before he walked home, and John & Michelle Phillips were on Lou's balcony waving goodbye. I graduated UCLA in 1970, and moved again, this time to Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho to begin my career as a professional photographer. My early experiences there can be found at ( INSERT DFCFC BLOG LINK). My friend, Robert, remained at UCLA, as did a number of other friends that were a year behind me, so I visited often and I also plied my emerging business in LA as best I could. In 1971, the editor of the UCLA Yearbook, Deborah Ackema, adopted a very unusual design approach to the publication: there was little typeset, everything was handwritten; 2-volumes were presented inside a sleeve, all related to the symbolic organization of the yearbook design; and startling picture juxtapositions marked page layouts, for instance, a Charles Manson portrait was placed between fraternity/sorority group shots. Deborah needed 6-covers (2 for sleeve; 2 for each inner volume) and she wanted the visual compliment to the symbolic design. She had seen my work on campus and published in The Daily Bruin newspaper, and she liked it, so she asked me to suggest an approach AND I had an idea that appealed to her. Above is the front/back sleeve for the 1971 UCLA Yearbook. Is the “circular” motif starting to look familiar (last post, LOL)?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, December 30, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #26:
Daze, #26:   The few nights of protests and the ensuing weeks of arrests on The Sunset Strip in 1966 were just the beginning of a very turbulent time. Ultimately it would be protests against the war in Vietnam that really brought things to a boil, especially on college campuses. There were protests about NROTC being on campus. There were protests about the draft. Although there is no doubt everyone was also having fun, music and the arts were vibrant, and being in LA was exciting, things could also go wrong very quickly. During one such moment, the UCLA campus was “closed” by martial law. My friend and fraternity brother, Julian Bailey, left the fraternity house to go and study at the central library. As he walked up Janss Steps leading to the library, he was greeted by LAPD, arrested, handcuffed, and taken to jail. Julian was on the way to study for his law degree, which he achieved. In fact, “Jack” went on to be a Superior Court Judge for the County of Orange.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, December 23, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #25:
Daze, #25:  While I was at UCLA, I had classes to fulfill within my major, and one of the art mandates involved painting, drawing, and printmaking. If you have been following this blog, you will recall that among the many things I am doing to pay my bills is running a light show company. Part of our success is due to an invention called the Phantasmagorion that is a kaleidoscope projector whose imagery relies on circular disks with designs that rotate within the machine. I was given some of these machines to design disks for them and I used them for my shows to test my design ideas. Basically the disk and whatever was on it had to be transparent so the light could shine through it. It was basically a circular slide. I glued film strips on disks; I etched the plastic and the colored the scratches; AND I also painted the disks with brilliant dyes. These disk design ideas carried over into my painting class where I did a series of paintings on plexiglass that were put in frames built to light them from behind. This is one of those paintings I have kept. It not only lights from behind but I painted it with the brilliant dyes I was using for my light shows, AND I framed this out in a circular format.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, December 16, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #24:
Daze, #24:  So there is a lot on my plate! I am trying to get through college and earn a degree; I am photographing rock bands playing at the clubs along the Sunset Strip; I have had a personal and artistic epiphany camping and photographing in a small canyon on the Big Sur coast called LIMEKILN BLOG; furthering my expanding visual, physical, and mental explorations my parents lease a residence near Sun Valley, Idaho and I am introduced to snow, skiing, and a group of friends, THE DFCFC, who open up new worlds for me; traveling to Idaho, during a car breakdown in the desert, I discovery an unusual maze of domes and slot canyons that fuels my maturing photography and turns into a project I pursue for 30years, STONED IMMACULATE. Then, back in the real world there is a small thing going on called the Vietnam War, and President Richard Nixon has cranked up the draft to feed the constant demand for more combat troops on the ground. My father wanted me in a safer place and told me to join the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp (NROTC) at UCLA, which I did, as you can see - dress blues. (Amazing for me to find this picture!) As it turned out, my hearing and my kidneys were eventually deemed a “medical risk", and I left NROTC to be graced with a very rare 4F draft card making me ineligible for combat (Nixon declared NO more 4F’s were to be issued, so I got lucky, TY).
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, December 9, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #23:
Daze, #22:  One last element that was part of my series of photographic epiphanies was not a place, but rather the work of another photographer. The above image is Paul Caponigro's "Apple, New York" 1964, or so it was titled when first published in Aperture magazine. At UCLA, a Robert Heinecken assignment had each of us choose a photographer "outside" of "our genre" and prepare a report/lecture with slides for a class presentation. Although I was "leaning" toward an interest in landscape, I still thought it less exciting than my experimental, hand-colored work, and Caponigro's imagery, which lacked the drama of Ansel Adams, seemed especially "quiet." I chose him because I viewed him boring and thought I would make that my lecture point, BUT the more I studied his photographs, the more I grew to understand the magic in the way he saw things. Then there was this, the final image, the endpiece of the publication. When presenting to the class, I said this photograph was a great closer because it suggested he was doing "newer, more experimental work." Heinecken asked, "How's that?” To which I responded that most of his other images were landscapes, but this one of the night sky seemed more adventurous. Uniformly the class mumbled oddly, and then my friend, Bob Jenkins, spoke up and said, "What are you smoking, man? THAT is an apple." Having NOT read the image title, I missed that detail, but once he said it, I could see it. In fact, I could still see BOTH. This duality of being a "straight" photograph AND ALSO of "another world entirely" would become a subtext of my work for the rest of my life. In telling this story to workshop students once, I did not notice that Caponigro had come into the back of the classroom. After speaking, I took questions, and the last hand up was his. When he rose, I recognized him, so I introduced him to the class. Paul said he was glad to hear that story and know the image affected me in that way, AND then he said I should tell Heinecken that "it WAS the night sky." He has since changed the title of this image to "Galaxy Apple."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, December 2, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #22:
Daze, #22:  Driving from LA through the desert to spend Christmas vacation with my parents in Idaho, my car broke down and I was rescued by a small town garage service. The repair would take several days, and to keep me from driving him crazy, the garage owner gave me the keys to his jeep and sent me off to camp in the desert in a place he thought I would find interesting as a photographer. Not far away, a dirt road led into a maze of highly mineralized fins and domes rising up from the desert floor. Although he thought I would find them interesting enough, he further suggested I spend the ensuing days hiking in the washes and slot canyons that crossed the road, paying greater attention to the caves and overhangs being created by the erosion of wind and water. Following his advice, I found a remarkable world that became a large and obsessive body of work over the next ten years. A small portion of these images have been published, and a select number of prints were made, but for the most part, little of this portfolio has been seen, so I am now publishing it as a blog: STONED IMMACULATE, which I hope you will follow.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, November 25, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #21:
Daze, #21:  During my years in college, and for the decade thereafter, three very different locations influenced my photography and distilled in me a profound appreciation and connection to the natural world. As I said in the last post, Limekiln Creek in Big Sur was one of those locations. Just as I started college, my parents began leasing a “winter” home in the Wood River Valley not far from the ski resort of Sun Valley and I would join them over my Christmas vacation. This presented me with an unfamiliar landscape I grew to love. I learned to ski, and most importantly I met locals my age who not only skied, but skied in the backcountry. From them I learned to backpack and winter tour, and those experiences shaped my career. If you are interested in those experiences, please follow my blog. The third location that played an important role in my “development” was discovered like Limekiln, somewhat by accident. In the case of this third landscape, literally by accident, as my car broke down in the desert enroute to Idaho, and while it was being repaired, I camped and hiked in a place unlike ANY OTHER I have ever seen, as you will see next week.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, November 18, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #20:
The Daze of My Life, #20:  During my four years of college, I experienced a confluence of events that changed my life and redirected it. The first was, as a pre-law major at UCLA, I took a breadth requirement class in the arts and discovered photography. This was not just any photography department, but one that offered me both Edmund Teske and Robert Heinecken as very “non-traditional” teachers who encouraged our experimentation. Secondly, I found The Sunset Strip, the emerging rock & roll scene on the West Coast, and my camera opened club doors for me and gave me band access. Third, on the drive back through Big Sur from the Monterey Pop Festival, I discovered Limekiln Creek, a place that affected me enough to change the direction of my work, the experience of which I describe in this blog: LIMEKILN CREEK. Limekiln would become one of THREE destinations in the landscape that I would return to repeatedly over the next 10-years, and they would shape my vision and refine my concepts about how I should use my work in the real world.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, November 11, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #19:
The Daze of My Life, #19:  As you can see from the last post, I was VERY close to Hendrix, and more to one side or the other, than standing down in front looking up at him. With each song, he seemed to loosen up and get wilder, and as is clear from the other pictures, he was VERY AWARE that I was there on stage with him and he constantly looked right at me for the “photo-op.” At one point he was “prowling” during a raging guitar solo and to stay out of his way I backed up against the wall of amplifiers. I could feel the vibration of his feedback notes literally striking my spine. At that moment he turned his back on the audience, walked directly toward me (and the speaker), and in a crescendo of electronic noise, waved the neck of his guitar in front of my lens nearly touching it as he finished off the feedback note. “Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have.” Steve Winwood ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Winwood ) was another musician and his bands that I was fortunate to enjoy, first as the Spencer Davis Group, then as Traffic, and finally with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker in Blind Faith. ALL these venues were at The Wisky and my pictures suck, but there was some wicked partying in the small rooms back stage. When all is said and done, however, I am LA born and bred, and my favorite band to “experience” was The Doors. The last time I saw them was at the finally established Kaleidoscope theater. I brought a “curious” date with me. She introduced herself to me on campus at UCLA as part of the Campus Crusade for Christ and she hoped she could turn me from my “evil” ways. I asked if she knew who The Doors were, and suggested she should see them “for fun.” After the concert we took a little “Moonlight Drive” to the parking lot at State beach, where she clearly changed her mind about my evil ways.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, November 4, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #18:
The Daze of My Life, #18:  I had seen/heard Eric Clapton when he was part of The Yardbirds, and when he played with the Blues Breakers, but when he returned to America with Cream, a new dynamic emerged in rock-and-roll. Playing off each other like jazz musicians, Cream live was a show not to be missed. In Los Angeles for the first time, the engagement of choice was The Whisky, but Cream’s sound was “arena” in scale, and Clapton had SO many Fender amps ( fender amps for sale ) that there was barely room for the band on the small stage. Their next time around they played a double bill with Deep Purple at The Forum and my date began crying when Ritchie Blackmore started bouncing his guitar, neck-down on the stage, generating a sound that convinced her we were all being kidnapped inside an alien spaceship. Thankfully she recovered in time to enjoy the stunning 18-minute, “Spoonful” - one of the best guitar performances I ever saw live. Another of those performances that was unique for me, was the return of Jimi Hendrix. I had seen The Jimi Hendrix Experience play at The Whisky when they were VERY British fashionable, but on the next pass, the band was MUCH larger, and everyone wore dark clothes. To promote their new look and sound in a different way, they booked the Grand Ballroom of the Ackerman Student Union at UCLA for a “lunchtime” concert (at noon). As I knew the band previously, was working on the UCLA yearbook, AND taking pictures for The Daily Bruin, I had UNUSUAL ACCESS. Instead of being squashed in “the pit” of students and other photographers, I was invited to be “on-stage” as long as I could keep out of Jimi’s way. Talk about up-close-and-personal, wait until next week!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, October 28, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #17:
The Daze of My Life, #17:  As a young, aspiring photographer/artist, I was leading a schizophrenic existence. By day, I was a serious student at UCLA and particularly inspired by my photography instructors that encouraged us to experiment. The above is an "unfinished" print that during those years evolved from my first pictures of landscape, the story of which I offered in this blog: LIMEKILN CREEK. My camera also opened other doors and another life for me in the clubs and events that were emerging as part of the new music scene blossoming in LA, especially along the Sunset Strip and in the hillside homes of Laurel Canyon. Working for Kaleidoscope gave me photographic access to the bands this blog previously mentioned - The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, The Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, and The Grateful Dead, but my visibility and associations among bands and club owners then broadened, offering me much more, AND it was an exciting time just to be hearing all of this new music. Kaleidoscope found a home for awhile at the former Earl Carroll Theatre, which in previous manifestations had hosted the TV show, "Queen for a Day," then the club, Moulin Rouge, and prior to Kaleidoscope, it was The Hullabaloo BE SURE TO FOLLOW THIS LINK, an industry showcase for bands where I once saw The Zombies. However, music performances were being staged in a surprising variety of places:  The Byrds played Ciro's and were featured on The Hullabaloo show; there were all-day "love-ins" featuring numerous bands in Griffith Park; another remarkable "love-in" began at sunrise in Elysian Park (next to the Los Angeles Police Academy) and the Iron Butterfly featuring vocals and dancing by Darryl DeLoach, leveled the crowd with a stunning version of their "Theme from Iron Butterfly;" The Blues ProjectJohn Mayall and the Blues Breakers (in various manifestations featuring Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck on guitar), LoveSky Saxon and the Seeds, and The Yellow Payges were all playing somewhere on some night; driving a little further afield, The Leaves startled the surfer-date crowd at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Newport Beach; and in one of the best weekends of music in my life, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band tore up The Golden Bear in Huntington Beach for several nights.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, October 21, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #16:
The Daze of My Life, #16:  Besides working at Kaleidoscope and photographing bands in clubs on the Sunset Strip, I was also fully engaged as a student at UCLA. The reason I even picked up a camera in the first place involved trying to satisfy breadth requirements in the arts in my freshman year, and thus I found myself in a "beginning" photography class that was taught by Edmund Teske. Teske was an unusual character to say the least, but he was brilliant at stimulating our ideas and making us think about what a photograph was and how you made one. On the FIRST day of class, he said because he was old and shot with a view camera, he wanted us to put all of our much newer cameras on his desk, so he could see what we were shooting with. After we all obliged, he left class to get a cardboard box from the darkroom, and then ceremoniously put all of our cameras in the box, taking it back to the darkroom area and locking in an equipment locker. When he returned to class he announced, "Now we are going to learn to make photographs." He was right. The above is a 20"x 24" print made by putting flowers and puffy seeds between glass and making a "contact" print in the sunlight. The color is my additional touch.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, October 14, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #15:
The Daze of My Life, #15:  After the "event" at the Ambassador Hotel, Kaleidoscope had GREAT buzz, and they needed it because the injunction was still in place on the Vine street location they had hoped to occupy. Quick on their feet, management contracted with Ciro's nightclub to host the next several venues, the first of which was to be The Doors the weekend following the blowout at the Ambassador. We had a lot of posters to spread around as we had to get the word out about a new location, and this poster (which I think is the best of the entire series) got everyone's attention. What you cannot fully appreciate here, is that The Doors faces are printed in an ink responsive to black light, so when lit with black light, the faces separate from the surface of the poster and seem to float in front of the print. Discovering this always brought oohs and aahs from the viewers. The two nights of the concert, we had numerous posters lit around the club and EVERYONE wanted to take one home afterword. Ciro's is relatively small by the standard of rock venues these days, and The Doors blew the roof off, VERY up close and personal (one of my friends got on the stage and "danced" with Jim Morrison.) If you want to see the entire poster series, please be sure to click The Kaleidoscope link above, they are all there along with some great history.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, October 7, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #14:
The Daze of My Life, #14:  Because of limited large venues on The Sunset Strip, many small clubs opened in the surrounding area, and just off Hollywood Blvd. as well. I fished jobs at many of them because they already knew me from nights when I visited to shoot pictures of the bands. Nonetheless, no one had any work to offer until I met this beautiful girl handing out the above poster. She explained Kaleidoscope was a new club about to open on Vine Street and that they would bring in the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead to LA for the fist time. As the Airplane's "Surrealistic Pillow" was AMAZING and blowing up, I knew this would be a 3-night event not to miss AND I wanted to work for this organization. The girl told me if I helped GIVE AWAY the posters, she could get me a job working there, and so we were off. She did get me in-the-door, but than an injunction blocked the club opening. This is when things get REALLY INTERESTING and I endeared myself to management by helping to redirect concert goers to the new venue. Not to be stopped, Kaleidoscope negotiated a deal with the Ambassador Hotel. The hotel was home to the famous Coconut Grove and as a child, I learned to swim by taking lessons from the Esther Williams swim school, held in their epic swimming pool. Of particular note, the lobby supported a huge, luxurious carpet of exotic design and PLEASE look at the link to the Coconut Grove to fully understand the setting of this evening. My parents came to the Ambassador in tux and formal dress to dance to big bands. Now I was going there to dance as well, and you might say we were also "formally" attired. Can you imagine Deadheads wandering around this cavernous, "trippy" hotel? It was hard to get through the lobby to the actual venue because it was so crowded with startled adults, lost flower children, and Deadheads that had now gone down on hands-and-knees to examine the carpet more closely and roll around on it. Then the first chords of "She Has Funny Cars" echoed from the ballroom, and I don't remember much else. "The Kaleidoscope Is Turning On."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, September 30, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #13:
The Daze of My Life, #13:   Just before my 18th birthday, a handout flier circulating on The Strip warned that the sheriff's department was going to enforce a 10pm curfew to cut down on the number of young people hanging out late, and it suggested rallying to protest at the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Crescent Heights Blvd., exactly the location of Pandora's Box. I knew the crowd would be a mix of everyone, hippies, bikers, and Hollywood stars, and I thought it would be great to be part of it, so I found myself with a few friends, standing by an open window at "the box" watching, and taking in what was an increasingly wild and unruly scene. Police say there were over 1,000 people and among them Jack Nicholoson, Peter Fonda, Frank Zappa, and Sonny and Cher - but there were MANY more rock stars that wandered through the crowd. I caught an occasional glimpse of one or another of them, but more importantly, I saw the beer bottle that arced out of the yard at Pandora's Box and broke the window on a passing car as police began to enforce curfew laws. Then all hell broke loose in an event now known as The Sunset Strip Riots. One of my favorite songs (and bands) of this era by the Buffalo Springfield, entitled, "For What It's Worth" is about the several days of riots that followed. I slipped away that night, but got arrested several nights later. Even after I turned 18, I felt vulnerable out on the street, but I wanted to remain part of the amazing energy and music that was blossoming everywhere, so I decided to try and get work in a club. Above is "Self Portrait in a Rainbow Shirt/Self Portrait as Jimi Hendrix" clearly suggestive of the changes in me during the fall of 1966.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, September 23, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #12:
The Daze of My Life, #12:   As school started, Sam Scranton went back to Webb and I went to UCLA. I hung out on The Sunset Strip on weekends photographing bands in the clubs, and wanting to get more into the club environment, I formed Glendor and his Magic People, a light show company. Most of the clubs had their own staff doing shows, but fraternities, sororities, and high schools I knew from my Webb years such as MarlboroughWestlake, and Girl's Collegiate, all hosted dances and they had never seen anything like us. A VERY INTERESTING Webb school teacher, "Bobbie" Hall came to know the inventor of a machine he named the Phantasmagorion. Basically, it was a kaleidoscope projector that used insertable revolving plexi disks for its source of imagery. The inventor had some disks with water and oil sealed in, which were VERY much like a liquid light show, but Bobbie thought more could be done so he offered to give me a couple of machines to experiment with. Not only did I create some interesting disks to project - dyes, film, and actual plant and insect specimens - but when the projections were combined with massive strobe lights that I was able to rent from Hollywood studio rental companies, we blew small unsuspecting venues away. This is Sam Scranton with his band, Silver Chief - Wild Dog of the North at a Webb exchange dance that featured our light show. We did another for the Marlborough prom that is indelibly etched in their brains, and a couple of Catholic schools on the westside told us we would never be invited back even though I had spent my grade school years in the distinguished Good Shepherd Parrish of Beverly Hills
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, September 16, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #11:
The Daze of My Life, #11:   Besides clubs that featured live music, there were preferred places to hang out such as Ben Frank's Cafe and Pandora's Box. These two locations also characterized the diverse energy of the Sunset Strip as they attracted very different crowds. Ben Frank's was more fashion-centric and influenced by rockers that would come-in to dine from nearby studios. The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield fostered a western, cowboyish look; the British groups and Hendrix were more flamboyant and formal; and then there were the "flower children" and hippies. The flower children were beautiful, scantily clad girls that hitch-hiked over Laurel Canyon to "get-into-trouble" with boys on The Strip. Pandora's Box was specifically the place to get into trouble as it hosted a lot of bikers wearing their colors and was often VERY rowdy. Then there were the tourist. They seldom got out of their cars. They would just cruise back and forth looking at all the “action” going on around the clubs and on the sidewalks. More often than not these were very preppy, clean-cut college students from UCLA and USC out on dates, and they had come to The Strip to ogle the “weirdos.” Clothiers began to cater to the styles, and above you have some of my clothes that I wore "back-in-the-day." Left to right: a hand-made Elvenworks leather shirt with a high collar and most unusual buttons; that is a dog-leash belt on top the shirt; next a Hendrix-style shirt from either the original Maxfield Blue near the Troubadour or the just-opened Fred Segal's, a REALLY tiny store in a mini-mall at the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Fairfax Avenue; lastly, another handmade leather jacket with special stitches and tooling by North Beach Leathers.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, September 9, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #10:
The Daze of My Life, #10:   After our summer of surfing the South Shore of Oahu with our new Wardy surfboards, my friends, Sam Scranton, Andy Mills, Peter Clark and I, returned to the mainland for school. It was the fall of 1966, Sam had one more year at Webb, the rest of us were off to college. I would be a freshman at UCLA. Peter Clark's mother was a known actress and she had a home in the Hollywood Hills just above the Sunset Strip. When we got back from Hawaii, we found the Strip infused with a new vibrancy that was replacing the bars, clubs, and lounges of my parent's generation. The Strip had blown-up into a nightly destination for thousands of teenagers that were just hanging-out, or cruising the boulevard in their cars. A few clubs catered to the "new" music like Gazzari's and Whisky A Go Go. Did you know The Doors were the "house" band at Gazarri's until they were discovered, THEN they were asked to play at Whisky A Go Go. Besides those venues there were many other smaller ones, as well, like Brave New World showcasing "unknown" LA bands like Love, so it was a very exciting time. My father had planned that I would enter UCLA as a pre-law student, but in my freshman year I discovered photography, some very unusual photography teachers, and The Strip. Nothing was ever the same. Above on the left is a picture of me in the fall of 1966, when I entered UCLA. On the right is a self-portrait done for Robert Heinecken's class in the spring of 1967. So much for courtroom attire!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, September 2, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #9:
The Daze of My Life, #9:   There was another aspect of spending summers in Hawaii that I also found VERY attractive. It was the early 60's, The Beach Boys'  songs ruled the airwaves, and I surfed in Hawaii with locals. Meet Sherry Alberoni. If the name sounds familiar, you probably watched The Mickey Mouse Club on TV as a child and you might remember that Sherry and Cubby (the drummer) were the two youngest (and shortest), and they would introduce the show. Sherry was a year older than me when we met in Hawaii in the summer of my sophomore year in high school, but in reality, she was light years beyond any girl I had ever dated, and REALLY fun. None of my other high school sweetheart pictures look like this. Do any of yours? Needless to say, she created quite a buzz at the Webb School when she came as my date for the prom.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, August 26, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #8:
The Daze of My Life, #8:   Often classmates from Webb joined me in Hawaii, and we would take summer jobs at my father’s company, so we would all have some income. With cash in the bank, in the fall of ’65 I decided to sell the Jacob’s Concave and design my own board. Sam Scranton, my friend from Webb with whom I surfed, knew staff at Wardy surfboards in Laguna Beach. Sam was also joining me in Hawaii the next summer and he wanted a new board as well, so we worked together on design/style ideas, and he got Wardy to shape the boards. Many think the Wardy shop approached making boards as an artform, so the board shape was their work, but I also wanted to contribute to their artfulness and I created the deck, stringers, and tail design. My board was 10’2” in length, and as you see here, featured some specific details: the “stringer” down the middle is a laminate of a balsa wood surrounded by redwood strips of equal width; the tail block is similarly layers of redwood and balsa; the right side of the board is offset with an oak stringer, visually balanced by two paint pin-stripes and the Wardy logo decal on the left side. As you see it, this board currently decorates the chimney of my living room fireplace.

Wardy shipped the boards to their Hawaiian store for us, and when we went to pick them up, we found they had drawn an interested crowd. Some in that circle were notable locals, and they were definitely curious to know how the boards performed. A few were sure my oak stringer would unbalance the board, but about 45-minutes later, I dropped into a 5’ peak during a low-tide at Kaiser bowl. The frighteningly shallow reef made the wave steep and hollow, and my fancy new platform carved a nice fluid bottom turn, then popped me back up into the pocket, where I was covered for several seconds by the tube, before being blown on to the shoulder, accompanied by the whooping of my friends. It was the beginning of an amazing summer that saw some big days at #3's and even a summer swell at Pipeline. If the board was imbalanced, I never noticed!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, August 19, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #7:
The Daze of My Life, #7:   Another great part of my friendship with Frownie was that he had several boards, and he always offered me one. They were much better than the rentals available and a bit shorter, generally between 10'-11’. In the summer of ’64, surfing with him and this available quiver of boards, we began to expand the breaks we were riding to various spots all along the south shore of Oahu, including Kaiser's and Ala Moana ( kaisers surf ). That fall, my parents liked my enthusiasm for surfing and offered to buy me my own board for Christmas. The breaks I was riding were fast, and nose-riding was fashionable at the time, so I went to Hap Jacobs and asked him to shape a “Jacob’s Concave” (for speed) with a flat-bottomed nose (for nose-riding). He also added a V-tail instead of the more traditional squared-off tail-block I was used to, AND THE BOARD WAS 6’8”!

I rode that board at Rincon that winter during a big swell and found it seemed VERY small and low in the water, almost like a belly-board. It was also screamingly fast and I struggled to control the the pintail, and the concave induced speed. In the image above, my Webb classmate, San Scranton is imitating Paul Strauch, Jr's. classic "Cheater 5" at Fernald Point in Santa Barbara. (The red color of the water is due to a massive fire in the foothills and lots of ash on the water.)

I also took that board with me to Hawaii that summer and surfed it there. While I seemed to manage it decently at #3’s, at some of the new breaks I was surfing such as #Kaiser’s and #AlaMoana, I was still not adjusting to the design. Few others had boards even close to that short, and most of my friends thought I was just a crazy “haole.” While clearly it WAS a prototype for the short-boards of the future, it was more (or in this case, less) board than I could handle and feel comfortable with.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, August 12, 2016
The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #6:
The Daze of My Life, #6:  The pattern of my high school years when not boarding at the Webb school was to spend summer in Hawaii and Christmas in Sun Valley. Growing up at the beach in Los Angeles, and going to Hawaii from an early age made me very comfortable in the water and I started surfing long before I tried skiing. My parents leased an apartment near Waikiki, and I befriended someone my age (14) that also lived in the complex. Raymond Evans, who preferred to be called “Frownie,” was “local” and he surfed. This would prove of great benefit to me because the 60’s began to see the rise in turf wars over good wave sites, and because I began surfing with Frownie, I was “welcome” in more places.

I learned to surf at #WaikikiBeach in 1963 on a 12’ surfboard that today would be considered a stand-up paddleboard (#SUP). When I met Frownie, he laughed at Waikiki as a crowded tourist joke and offered to take me surfing at his favorite spot, down the shoreline a bit, and much further out onto the reef. It was a break simply called “#3’s.” It was a VERY different wave, a VERY different ride, AND it had some VERY DIFFERENT riders - among them notably, Paul Strauch, Jr., who did not just ride the wave but truly performed.

Click Here:  When this link opens, the 1st picture is Paul Strauch, Jr. doing his famous maneuver the "cheater five."

Click Here

A good swell at #3's offered a LONG, exhilarating ride if you knew what you were doing, and it was some of the MOST fun I have ever had. I surfed every day that there were waves.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, August 5, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #5:
The Daze of My Life, #5:   My high school summers were spent “working” for my father’s company in Hawaii and trying to get in as much time surfing as was possible. My winter-Christmas vacation was spent with my parents in Sun Valley, hunting with my father, and learning to ski with my friends. In both cases these were extended visits AND I returned regularly, so it gave me a relationship with “locals” as well as the seasonal tourists. Those relationships that I developed in Sun Valley drew me off the resort mountain and into skiing cross-country in the backcountry. They also introduced me to backpacking when I began to visit in the summer. These friends and the adventures we shared together would shape the rest of my life, both as an artist and a person. SO, I have a new blog dedicated just to this evolutionary part of my life entitled:  THE HIGHER YOU GET THE HIGHER YOU GET”- Sun Valley and the Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club. I hope you will follow that and share it with your friends. It was during a decade of adventuring with these friends of mine that I created the 24 photographs published in the portfolio, WINTERS: 1979-1980.”
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, July 29, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #4:
The Daze of My Life, #4:  After attending K-8th grade at Beverly Hills Catholic School, I entered The Webb School in 1962. At that time, Webb was an all-boys boarding school located above Claremont in the orange groves and foothills of the San Gabriel Mtns.. I played tennis, ran track, and in my senior year was a soccer and swimming team captain. Webb was pretty rural so hiking, biking, and mandatory conditioning runs to the "power line tower" on the fire road for soccer kept us "in nature." Importantly, for most of us, we all had a very unique biology instructor, Raymond Alf. He was always engaging in class, and some times hysterically funny, but it was his "Peccary Trips" that connected us to being out-of-doors. Dr. Alf was a noted paleontologist, and these trips were camping expeditions into the desert to search for fossils. I loved being out there, and for our senior "ditch," our class chose to walk to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back (Bright Angel Trail) because Dr. Alf had told us we would be walking through layers of time. It was quite a "walk." The picture above is the 1965 soccer team. Of course, for the yearbook we were in uniform and "organized," but we thought that sucked, so we made this one as a group effort. If you are trying to figure out which one is me - it is my senior year, the brits are coming on the radio, and I have discovered boots, vests, and ascots. LOL!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, July 22, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #3:
The Daze of My Life, #3:  My father also "followed" Hemingway to Sun Valley, Idaho because the writer had said he enjoyed the hunting and fishing in the local area. SO, along with frequent summers in Hawaii, I found myself "visiting" my parents at a home they leased in the Ketchum-Sun Valley area. Of course I hunted and fished with my dad, but because the season he chose to visit was late fall to winter, I came to Sun Valley for my Christmas vacation from high school and there was snow on the ground. It made for some very different hunting from what I experienced in Baja, but it also introduced me to skiing, and eventually friends that would lead me into the winter backcountry - one of the best things to every happen in my life. That is my dad above in his one-piece winter "sneak" suit about to take a shot at some geese somewhere in the plains below the Wood River Valley.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, July 15, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #2:
The Daze of My Life, #2:  My parents occasionally took me camping when I was in grade school (I recall my nephew nearly drowning while we inner-tubed the Merced in Yosemite but my greatest exposure to the out-of-doors came from my parent's lifestyle, particularly, my father. He saw him self as a "Hemingway" man, and he pursued hunting, fishing, women, liquor, and fine cigars all over the world. My mother was also adventurous, so she went along for the ride. I found myself in some amazing places because I went along as well. Although I was too young to hunt jaguar in South America, I hunted quail and dove by private plane in Baja during the 1960's (no hotels or development ANYWHERE) and since one-half of my father's business was in Hawaii, I spent summers there, eventually chasing black marlin off the Kona coast while fishing with him, and ultimately learning to surf. I am 5yrs old standing in the garden of the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki in the above picture. Apparently a Hollywood cowboy star on vacation there at that time, was someone I played with everyday while he and my father drank together - his name was John Wayne
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Friday, July 8, 2016

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #1:
The Daze of My Life, #1:   In my career, I have been a curator of some note, as well as a photographer, and I am very aware that most of what we know about those who have passed away and been “researched” is only a small portion of what was really going on in their lives. Since I am still here, and I am relatively clear, I am going to write and post about my life as an autobiography. No researcher or curators would ever dig up all of these people, places, and opportunities I have been privileged to encounter. So I will try to relate them here.

I also want to articulate what I believe inspired and informed my decisions to do with my life what I have done, and to do so from the earliest years I could recall. Certainly, my exchanges with the world of nature were important as a child given what I have done in my career, so take this journey with me and consider how different my life has been than most of the other artists of my generation. (This is worth your time to read:  Richard Louv's, "Last Child in the Woods".

I grew up in a home in a wooded canyon of the Santa Monica Mountains not far from the UCLA campus, and in the 1950’s you could reach “wild” land in a bicycle ride. My house was also located on an acre that ran up a hillside and was covered with substantial gardens. My friends and I scrambled, climbed, and rode around everyday after school having endless encounters with lizards, snakes, coyote, and deer AND ABSOLUTELY NO helicopter parents or other supervising adults.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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