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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Weekly Post, "Arctic: At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

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



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




Wednesday, June 19, 2019

ARCTIC:  At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change, #149:
ARCTIC, #149:   In the last post, I wrote, “If this is to be my last helicopter flight…," not meaning anything to do with my death, but rather having to give up the copter and send it home. However, when the pilot and I end our exploratory of Devon Island through the fog and haze of a changing weather system, and turn homeward, things only get worse. Departing the shoreline of Devon, with hopes of returning to “Itasca,” this is what we encounter (above) instead. The storm sky from the west has arrived, and is coming down on us. Worse, Lancaster Sound has completely disappeared under a dense layer of fog. My pilot notices my substantial exhale of breath, followed by an “Oh my god!,” and immediately says, not to worry, that we are good. Really? I cannot see the surface of the sound, or much of ANYTHING, in fact, and what little we can see of Baffin Island is slowly disappearing. My pilot says we are safe, “as long as we can see those walls, so we don’t fly into them” - a little pilot joke, I guess, but it does not give me much comfort. I also note that we are getting low on fuel. He assures me we are fine, and then suggests this weather has come from the west, and “Itasca” is way east of us, likely not even affected, as yet, by what we are seeing (or not seeing, as the case may be). He also assures me that we can always land on an ice flow and wait this out, if we have to. This gives me NO comfort at all. Let’s hope he is right about heading east.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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

NO PEBBLE MINE Pictures from Ground Zero
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

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






Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

NO PEBBLE MINE #353, Pictures from Ground Zero
NO PEBBLE MINE #353:  In the company of my two ADF&G guides, we are working our way upriver on the Kanektok. Following our first excursion ashore, they now understand the opportunities that I am hoping for, and the one who is Native from the downriver village of Quinhagak, has some very specific locations in mind. The Kanektok is a huge drainage, and a complicated river to navigate, so we spend a lot of time just motoring along. The promised bad weather has not yet arrived, by the clouds are streaming overhead, putting on a great skyshow. The river has become more consolidated, with fewer meanders and confusing side channels, and at the moment, it is quite deep beneath our boat, flowing with a considerable current. We finally reach this point (above), and I am told it will be an easy uphill scramble onto a tundra dome, which we surmount in a matter of minutes. It is a great view, but I amazed that the mountains still seem so far away, because we have been traveling upriver for several hours, and they do not seem to get any closer. When I ask why my guide knows this spot, and how do Natives use it, I am told, “to watch."

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd @NRDC @OrvisFlyFishing #NoPebbleMine #LittleBearProd

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

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




Tuesday, June 18, 2019

THE TONGASS:  Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees, #147:
THE TONGASS, #147:   In reading my last post, I see I got a little ahead of myself by ending the day in my storytelling. In fact, after Philip Slagter, Carey, and I, did our very successful fishing expedition to the opposite shore of Mole Harbor, then we returned to the our collective group for lunch. The others involved in our trans-Admiralty Island canoe traverse, chose to stay closer to home for their morning of fishing, and while they did catch some fish, none are the size of those that we caught. Not that it matters, as they all will be well enjoyed at the evening meal. For the time being, however, it is lunch, so we join our fellow paddlers/hikers on the shores of the stream they have been fishing, and dig in. The day is VERY sunny, and actually HOT, not a term often associated with the Tongass rainfrorest. Given tomorrow is going to be a long and strenuous day of portaging, some have even stayed in their tents today, and slept. Nonetheless, our previous days of long paddles and rigorous exercise, makes meals necessary to keep us fueled, and it always brings everyone to the table,..if that is what you can call this setting. In the true HEAT of midday, we sit, or stand about on the shore of a stream, while we dine (above). As you can see, most of us are hiding from a horrid profusion of biting insects, or constantly waving them away. Philip is showing some arm flesh, but Jeff Sloss, our guide, has gone “Alaska Man” on us once again, and he has stripped down to nothing but a pair of shorts. It is amazing he can do this, because he does NOT seem to get bitten much. An aside note about our predators: there are certainly mosquitoes, but they are the least of our worries. The true culprit is called a white-sox fly, so named because the tips of its feet are white. This fly, and its cousin, the black fly, bite, feed on the blood they draw, and usually cause an infection at the site of the bite. Enough infected bites can actually cause severe problems in wilderness conditions. Most insidiously, the white sox fly is a clever team player. While one of them distracts you by diving at your face, and particularly your eyes, others land on your clothing. Guided by your radiant body heat, they then work their way to your collar, or your wrist cuff, where they attack the exposed skin. This is the part of these trips that the outfitters don’t explain to you in the brochures!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, June 17, 2019

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

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

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





Monday, June 17, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #95:
Wind River, #95:  Despite Vicki Golden and my misgivings, such as "you can be struck by lightening,” “you're not wearing a life vest,” “the water is stunningly cold,” and, “you could hook your raft and deflate it, if you are not careful,” Michael Knowlin is not dissuadable. He has carried his raft all of this way, he has used it before, and he “knows what he is doing,” so there is no changing his mind. Finally inflated, the raft looks like a pool toy to us, but to Michael, it is his ticket to possibly catching “monster” fish,..and he is off - literally and figuratively -LOL! As Michael slowly paddles away from us, the weather ominously lowers, and clouds descend on the summits. It is not raining, but it looks like it might at any minute. A stiff breeze arises as well, blowing him further into the heart of the lakes, and causing us to wonder if he could even paddle back to us, going into the wind. Michael, however, is clearly less concerned. In fact he is doing a lot of hooting, and he keeps yelling at the fish that he is “coming for them.” Vicki and I climb up onto the boulder dome next to camp, so we can watch him grow ever smaller as he drifts into the expansive surrounding landscape of the Titcomb basin. As concerned as we are, it is amazing to watch, and his antics, and conversations with the fish are hysterical.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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

by Robert Glenn Ketchum


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



Monday, June 17, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #163: DFCFC, #163:  I am hopeful the hazy clouds (last post) suggest some warming, but as we regroup at our snow cave, the temperature is going down sharply once again. Out of our skis and, into our puffy layers, we do dinner and watch the evening show. After food, a little exercise always works to get my heat restarted, so I go for a hike with my camera to see whatever is offered up. The easiest, previously established path for that is, up along the rock exposed ridge above our encampment that overlooks both the Hyndman-Old Hyndman-Cobb  we are in, and also the basin between Duncan Ridge-Hyndman, whose skyline and “ribs’” are defined by these ragged, upthrust walls (above). The hazy clouds linger, but now I realize, this is not an incoming change in the weather, but rather ice crystals in the freezing air, as the temperature keeps dropping.The lowering sun paints the crystal haze and the landscape with a brief warm glow, as twilight starts to fall. My food glow is still coming on though, so I climb a little higher.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, June 14, 2019

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

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


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




Friday, June 14, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #152: Daze, #152:  Apparently, my new commission from the Lila Acheson Wallace Funds, to photograph in the Tongass rainforest of Alaska, will be accomplished by boating and camping, as there are few towns, fewer people, and a very limited number of roads. With my friend and fellow artist, Philip Slagter, helping as my assistant, we are about to spend the entire summer, camping, boating, kayaking, and canoeing throughout some 1,000 mountains islands in southeast Alaska, that sit just offshore of one of the world’s tallest coastal mountain ranges, split by deep fjords with tree-covered towering walls, and capped by some of the largest glaciers in North American. The fishing should be terrific, as it is considered a significant salmon fishery (along with other available species), but it is the population of especially large Grizzly bear, and unheard of amounts of rain (365” per year on average in Ketchikan that intimidate Philip and I the most, as we learn more about where we are headed. In planning, I realize we are going to be in extreme conditions a lot of the time, and we need to be mobile, so I decide to leave my large cameras at home, and go with all 35mm gear. Realizing I will work in smaller format, and I still hope to acquire richly detailed images, so I decide I will shoot Kodachrome transparency film, supposedly the best product on the market. As fate would have it, however, a new film reputed to be quite good, is introduced before we depart. It is called Fujichrome Velvia, and I decide to take rolls of that along, as well, to compare side-by-side with what I shoot on Kodachrome.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Weekly Post, "Fish Farms: Forming My World View Through Aquaculture in 1977" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

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



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




Friday, June 14, 2019

FISHFARMS:  Forming My World View through Aquaculture in 1977, #60:
Fish Farms #60:  Our Bangkok hotel is luxurious by comparison to those in which Elisabeth and I stayed while in India, but it is fair to say, not as exotic (no elephants carry our baggage). Our rooms are quite comfortable, AND air-conditioned, something we did not always find previously. The hotel dining room is also very nice, and decorated with stunning graphics, and details on the walls, columns, and ceiling. The food is good, and very different, but equally as spicy as what we were served in India, just in a different way. She and I enjoy a long, leisurely, and somewhat drunken dinner, retire early, and then rise the next day to have breakfast with our hosts, who plan to show us some of the sights. While our aquaculture research project is being explained on our behalf to various officials, and we await approval for the plans we have proposed, our hosts help us bide our time by showing us some truly grand Thai locations. The country is VERY religious, and there are statuary and temples everywhere, so of course we visit them. Again, since this is not pertinent to our project, I try to limit the pictures I make, because I only have so much film, but who could resist taking a picture of this? Like the remarkable decorated trucks we encounter on the roadways, the temples, in particular, are an astounding display of elaborate hand-crafting, with red paint and gold leaf, making windows, doorways, and columns radiant. It is breathtaking! These people are “nuts” in a VERY beautiful way!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Weekly Post, "My NEA Funded Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

My NEA Funded Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



In 1988, I was awarded an Artist-in-Residency at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Wisconsin Arts Board. This was a small body of work created over three years, and eventually exhibited once at the university. Some images have been printed, but most have never been seen. I hope you enjoy these photographs. I think they are among some of the most beautiful I have ever taken.  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum




Thursday, June 13, 2019

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #33:
Wisconsin #33:  The following morning at the UW field station, I awake to a cold day, more like winter than spring. There is a sharp wind as well, so I linger over breakfast, and wait for the sun to warm things up a bit. About the time I begin my rounds, the wind dies down, thankfully. As cool as the day is, spring is on the way, and the new growth may be slowed by the cold, but ultimately, there is no stopping the march towards blooming. I can see the green of weeds and grasses underlying every step I take. I start my tour of the property down by the stream that traverses it, but eventually I find myself approaching the oak-prairie grass savanna, and the swale full of sumac, I photographed the night before. Now, the drama of the late lighting (last post) is absent, and the spareness of the field is obvious. Nonetheless, it is still quite graphic, and the equally spare oaks provide an additional visual element, so as a document to the striking difference of these two POV’s, less than 12hrs. apart, I make the above image. As lifeless as it may initially look, study it more carefully and you can see the “greening” is well on its way. The grasses underfoot are clearly visible, pushing up through the weed debris, and in the distance, trees other than oaks, have started to leaf-out, creating a kind of green haze across the background. Now, if the day would only warm up a little more!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, May 27, 2019

Trustees for Alaska Needs Our Help


The Arctic got hot early this year. Klawock hit 70 degrees Fahrenheit in March, the earliest 70-degree day ever recorded in Alaska.

Arctic sea ice has hit a record low. Temperatures surged 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit above average across the Arctic Ocean. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 415 parts per million for the first time in human history last weekend--the highest level in at least 800,000 years, and probably over 3 million.

We face a time of crisis, yet live in an age of distraction. We need to focus on how to make the changes we need to survive, yet we bounce from tweet to insult to faux pas to disinformation to GIF to tweet again.

The internet peddles in distraction, according to Nicholas Carr in his book, "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains." It's not just that the online world distracts us, but that it alters how we think so that we remain in the shallows of thought.

Distraction is now the tool, the method, the tactic, the commodity, and the ultimate goal. The business of distraction seeks your attention, not depth of content or deep thinking.

The same goes for our political and social systems. Those with and in power have latched onto distraction as the means to holding power. They bump and derail thoughts and conversations like pick pockets exploiting a crowded street. They throw shade on people whose ideas and solutions threaten their power. They fund disturbance to keep people from unifying around their connections, common purposes and goals.

But we need deep solutions, not shallow ones.

The culture of distraction may alter our brains, but we have the choice to not let our brains be duped. Each of us chooses what we want to spend our time absorbing and lifting up. Each of us can turn our attention to where our values lie.

My values do not align with the Trump administration's, so I don't need to put attention on his tweets. There is very little that's meaningful in his 280-character blasts anyway--they're driven by his need for attention and to distract from his misdeeds and what's important.

We need to be mindful of how we spend our time and energy. We need to set time aside to turn off the chatter. We need to concentrate on the climate crisis and all the interconnected challenges on our doorstep. The question isn't whether we should reduce emissions, stop the burning of fossil fuels, invest in sustainable energy, and support those on the front lines of violent storms, erosion, floods and droughts.

Those things are no-brainers. We must think deeply and act quickly to address climate change. Take a break from your online world and demands to focus on solutions. Mother Earth needs you!!




Vicki Clark
Executive Director
Trustees of Alaska
PS: Your support of Trustees for Alaska is critical now more than ever.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The 40th Anniversary of Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auction

The 40th Anniversary of Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auction will be held on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at Google Los Angeles.


"Say No To The Pebble Mine"
by Robert Glenn Ketchum
26” x 36”
photograph, LexJet Metallic photographic print, face-mounted on 1/4” plexiglass to hang as is, 2019


This annual event brings thousands of artists, art enthusiasts and collectors together to help raise over $850,000 to help provide high-quality comprehensive health care to 27,000 low-income, homeless, undocumented, and otherwise uninsured people. Nearly fifty years ago, we started with one clinic in Venice. Thanks to our dedicated artists and patrons, the clinic has now expanded to 12 sites in Venice, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Inglewood, and Culver City – as well as street outreach to homeless populations from the Westside of Los Angeles to Downtown LA.


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