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Friday, April 19, 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, April 19, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #144: Daze, #144:  The Indian Point power plant, and the abandoned landing in Beacon (last two posts) are an important expansion of my vision, but they are industrial sites relatively close to where I am living. Traveling more widely up and down the Hudson River Valley, I come to realize, historically there has been a significant amount of industrial development on the river between Albany and Troy to the north. Some of it has closed down, leaving just abandoned buildings, some of it is still operational, and much of it has caused significant pollution to the mid-river. Many of the companies do not seem to mind me photographing their properties, if I explain my project to them, and ask for permission. Their concerns are less about my picture results, than they are about my safety and my willingness to observe strict protocols. This access allows me to consider the visual aspects of industry, a truly different American landscape I am starting to explore more and more.

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

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Friday, April 12, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #143: Daze, #143:  My other great epiphany during my work in the Hudson River Valley, occurs one cold and rainy winter morning in the small berg of Beacon. In studying the history of the Hudson, I discover that the mid-Hudson area, where I am living, was a weekend “country” destination for those wishing to get out of Manhattan, and “quaint” towns along the river, like Cold Spring brought them to visit by ferry. Beacon was one of the most popular destinations, and the Beacon Landing actually has historical designation. With that in mind, I think I should see it, and this is the moment I have chosen. The actual landing is now cut off from the town by a complex of railroad tracks, so an elevated crossing has been built over the rails. The landing itself is a disaster, abandoned by the public, and used as a storage and equipment yard by the railroad and the town. While I ponder making an image, I struggle to work around the power pole, when I have the first part of my epiphany - the pole is part of the picture, don’t try to get rid of it, make it prominent. When I see this shot as film, I love it, and take it to show to Barney McHenry, who has commissioned me for this project on behalf of the Lila Acheson Wallace Fund. Along with some of my other residential and industrial images, I want him to see that I have broadened my view and am not just photographing the woodlands and parks. Viewing this image, Barney asks its importance, which I explain. Not long thereafter, the Wallace Funds purchase the landing from the railroad, restore the entire area as a VERY nice park, and give it to the city of Beacon. The second part of my epiphany - a SINGLE image can actually make a HUGE difference. My ethic of purposeful image-making on behalf of the environment is born, and my career is testament to that commitment.

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

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Friday, April 5, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #142: Daze, #142:  From the curious, to the serious - my interest in photographing the “community” of the Hudson River Valley, rather than just the significant parklands there, produce some interesting new images in my work, such as you saw in the last post. It also produces a few epiphanies. Above is the nuclear power plant sited at Indian Point. It is one of the oldest in the country, AND it is less than 50-miles from New York, one of the countries largest populations. As someone who distrusts the toxic liability of the nuclear industry, Indian Point is symbolic for me. In my many explorations along the shores of the Hudson, I view Indian Point from every angle, and photograph it many times. Then, one very smoggy day during a cold winter inversion, I drive to an overlook on the river, not far from my home, just to see what is happening on the river, and I am greeted with this. Ansel Adams often said he pre-visualized his images, meaning he could anticipate what the finished print would look like. At this point, master printer, Michael Wilder, and I having been pushing the limits of a new color material, Cibachrome, and when I see this view, I know IMMEDIATELY what the print will look like. The weird metallic colors of the smoggy day, and the glossy, color saturated print material will make this appear as I symbolically see it, a vision of hell, BUT part of the complex reality of the Hudson River Valley.

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

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Friday, March 29, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #141: Daze, #141:  My multi-seasonal commission in the Hudson River Valley, allows me to study my work as the project progresses, and the idea to just “see” the community around me, brings some new and interesting images on to my light table. I am one of three photographers that have been commissioned by the Lila Acheson Wallace Fund, the other two are William Clift, and Stephen Shore. My new way of looking at “the landscape,” is also greatly inspired by Shore’s work in the streets of New York, in which he depicts the “ordinariness” of spaces within that environment. Here in the valley, and especially in the small hamlets and villages of the Adirondack mountain headwaters of the river, “ordinary" to the neighborhood takes on new meaning. There are fantasy summer camps, great family lodges around private lakes, and quaint villages providing infrastructure for quite an array of services. This is a “trading post” that offers “decor” items for “camp home & cottage,” AND if you would like to have some of that decor to be stuffed animals, they offer taxidermy as well.

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

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Friday, March 22, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #140: Daze, #140:  Typical to my established work, and especially because the height of fall color is upon us, most of my first images of the Hudson River Valley are of the landscape. My effort to access estates and homes with views, is for the purpose of seeing the view, However, the longer I am in the valley, and the more I learn to appreciate its history, the more I take notice of the houses and architecture. It is clear the valley is not a wilderness, although there are many large, and VERY wild parks all along the river, but they exist interwoven with hamlets, small towns, great estates, and a lot of rural residential. Typically these are also “old” properties, many dating back into the late 1700’s. Much of what is here, is hidden by the trees of the forest, but winter proves revealing when the leaves are gone. I am actually surprised on some familiar drives to find houses I had not seen in my previous passing. Initially, obvious properties, like the spectacular Boscobel, seemed worthy subjects, but I soon realize those are pictures everyone has already seen. Besides, my project is about “the valley,” collectively, and how such structures are part of a greater whole. Nonetheless, these considerations change the direction of my work, and I begin to take note of the “neighborhood."

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

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Friday, March 15, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #139: Daze, #139:  Carey and I are ensconced in an historical home near the middle of the Hudson River Valley, and within walking distance to the edge of the water and the Audubon Center of the Constitution Island Marsh. Many other historical homes and gardens surround us. Some are public, so I have access. Others are private. Many are large estates built atop ridges with grand views of the river valley, and I would like to have access to them as well. It is a small town, Carey and I are obvious newcomers, and people often see me in the area working - hard to miss a guy with a big camera and tripod standing on top of his van in a storm. When they approach to ask what I am doing, I explain, and encourage them to tell others, or perhaps, introduce me to friends and locations of interest. Most are engaging and helpful, but some of the oldest and most private families do not embrace the “paparazzi from California,” until I put up a small show in Cold Spring of my first few good images. That show brings me a lot of new friends, support, and invitations to see “their” view. Among the homes and gardens I eventually visit, the above is one of my favorite. It is “Manitoga,” the home of American designer, Russel Wright, and along with the commission upon which I am working, I am given additional support from a New York State Council on the Arts, Architecture, Planning & Design Grant to photograph this home and its gardens, extensively.

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

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Friday, March 8, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #138: Daze, #138:  Carey has made an amazing find in our rental home just outside of Cold Spring. We have a lease on a large, historic house, that sports a huge rear deck, overlooking a multi-acre yard, through which runs Indian Brook. There is a productive vegetable garden, a lot a large trees, and quite an expanse of grass. Many pathways also lead to benches or chair swings. Most importantly, it places me right about the middle of the Hudson River Valley, surrounded by some of the most historic hamlets and private properties. I have never had an opportunity like this commission, and I decide on a working discipline that becomes a cornerstone of my process throughout my entire career. Our move to the Hudson is accomplished in early fall, and as the fall colors progress, so does the inclement weather. It rains hard, and frequently. The discipline I adopt is that, if I plan to go out for the day to shoot, I go regardless of the conditions. I am often wet, cold, and miserable, but my committed effort is always productive, the above image being an example of that. I spent much of this day driving around in a pounding rain that began the night before. Fall is at peak, and the long rain has saturated EVERYTHING, so there is great color, but shooting is difficult because, along with the rain, it is also brutally windy. Late in the day, I am headed back to our house, and I am driving through Harriman State Park. The park is shimmering with color, and the rain and wind abate. My drive passes by Upper Lake Cohasset, and this screams at me to pull over and have a look. The soaking rain has turned the tree trunk a depthless black, a perfect foil to set off the surrounding color show. This becomes one of the first important images in my new body of work.

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

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Friday, March 1, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #137: Daze, #137:  Working in my darkroom in LA over the course of the summer, I finish printing, and publish the 24-print, B&W portfolio, WINTERS: 1970-1980. Also working with master Cibachrome printer, Michael Wilder, I publish the color portfolio, ORDER FROM CHAOS: NEW WORK, containing 9-30”x 40” prints in an edition of 20. My immediate sales are exceptional, especially with the color work, and the timing could not be better because Carey and I are about to move to the Hudson River Valley, where I will begin a commissioned project. We will need the money. In advance of our actual move, we also need to have a location to move to, so Carey heads east by plane to do some groundwork. We both agree that we want to live outside Manhattan, and actually IN the valley, close to the river, so Carey scouts some of the beautiful rural towns along its shoreline. At an historic bend in the river, West Point rises on the bluffs of the western shore, and on the eastern shore lie the picturesque towns of Garrison and Cold Spring. The historic Albany-Post stagecoach road passes through them, and Carey finds a beautifully maintained 1800’s home and farm that we can rent, on Indian Brook Road, near its intersection with Albany-Post, all within walking distance of the Bird and Bottle Inn, one of the historic stagecoach stops, and now a high-end inn with truly fine dining. The home we rent is owned by a college professor, who is taking a 2-year sabbatical to travel. He and his wife love the idea that an “artist” will be working in their home while they are gone. Above is, “The Taconic Parkway, North to Albany,”. It is a drive I make numerous times, but on this day it is truly something else.

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

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Friday, March 1, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #137: Daze, #137:  Working in my darkroom in LA over the course of the summer, I finish printing, and publish the 24-print, B&W portfolio, WINTERS: 1970-1980. Also working with master Cibachrome printer, Michael Wilder, I publish the color portfolio, ORDER FROM CHAOS: NEW WORK, containing 9-30”x 40” prints in an edition of 20. My immediate sales are exceptional, especially with the color work, and the timing could not be better because Carey and I are about to move to the Hudson River Valley, where I will begin a commissioned project. We will need the money. In advance of our actual move, we also need to have a location to move to, so Carey heads east by plane to do some groundwork. We both agree that we want to live outside Manhattan, and actually IN the valley, close to the river, so Carey scouts some of the beautiful rural towns along its shoreline. At an historic bend in the river, West Point rises on the bluffs of the western shore, and on the eastern shore lie the picturesque towns of Garrison and Cold Spring. The historic Albany-Post stagecoach road passes through them, and Carey finds a beautifully maintained 1800’s home and farm that we can rent, on Indian Brook Road, near its intersection with Albany-Post, all within walking distance of the Bird and Bottle Inn, one of the historic stagecoach stops, and now a high-end inn with truly fine dining. The home we rent is owned by a college professor, who is taking a 2-year sabbatical to travel. He and his wife love the idea that an “artist” will be working in their home while they are gone. Above is, “The Taconic Parkway, North to Albany,”. It is a drive I make numerous times, but on this day it is truly something else.

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

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Friday, February 22, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #136: Daze, #136:  After a few days visiting with our friends, the artists, Philip Slagter and Marta Reicio, Carey and I continue our drive back to my home, studio, and darkroom in Los Angeles. After settling in, I process the 4x5 color transparency film I have been shooting in the East, and as I hoped, there are enough images to constitute a portfolio of work, so I reconnect with my friend and master Cibachrome printer, Michael Wilder, and we begin work on what will become the portfolio, ORDER FROM CHAOS: NEW WORK. The home I grew up in, and in which my parents still reside, is a large, rambling home and gardens in the hills above UCLA. When I was in graduate school at CalArts, I converted two unused rooms at the back of the house, intended as servant’s quarters, into a really nice darkroom, and print processing/mounting area. Much of my daily activity in LA bounces between Wilder’s studio/darkroom in Venice, and my darkroom at home, where I am finishing the 20 signed editions of my 24-print, boxed, B&W portfolio, WINTERS: 1970-1980. The pleasure of working at my parent’s home is that at the end of the day, they have swimming pool. They also welcome my friends, and as they are approaching their 80’s, they like the company, so on summer weekends, the pool becomes a sizable gathering. Some of the top photographers in LA have been friends since college, including Anthony Eaton Friedkin, Jeff Dunas, and Ken Marcus, and they are regulars to the weekends poolside. Tony actually makes A LOT of pictures underwater in the swimming pool. Especially to my aging father’s delight, there is no shortage of shockingly beautiful women in the group, because Dunas works for Penthouse, and Marcus works for Playboy. During his many years of business in Hawaii, my father amassed an amazing collection of hats woven from palm leaves. I, and my guests, all wear them on days at the pool when the sun is blistering. This is one of my favorites.., that is a hula girl on top.

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

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Friday, February 15, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #135: Daze, #135:  Feeling certain that the recent trips in my van with Carey will provide a portfolio’s worth of images, soon to become ORDER FROM CHAOS, and having printed only half of the editions for my B&W portfolio, WINTERS: 1970-1980, I am eager to return to my home, studio, and darkroom in LA, so I can get that work done, before moving back to the Hudson River Valley to work on the commission I have recently been given. Carey and I end our “southern tour” along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and head west. Neither of us has been to New Orleans, so we stop there for a few days, continuing on across Texas, to camp in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and visit nearby Carlsbad Caverns National Park, as well. My friend, the painter, Philip Slagter, who introduced me to Carey when he was living in a farmhouse on a Connecticut estate, is now living in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with his longtime girlfriend, and friend of Carey’s, Marta Reicio, also a very accomplished artist. From where we are camped, Las Cruces is a relatively short drive, so our next stop for a few days is at the large, rambling, dog-filled farmhouse, where Philip and Marta currently live. Their property is rural. There is a bird refuge nearby, so ducks, and other birds are everywhere. Also, not far away, White Sands National Monument, so why not day trip there if the weather is nice? It is, so we do. Day trip, indeed! Clearly we have had too many snacks. Much time is spent running up the slope-side of a dune, to leap blindly off the steep side. That first 15-20ft. of pure air and free-fall is pretty breathtaking, even when you know it is coming.

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

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Friday, February 8, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #134: Daze, #134:  At the request of the National Park Foundation, I go to New York to meet with Barnabus McHenry of the Lila Acheson Wallace Fund, to thank them for providing important seed money for the research I was doing on the project “American Photographers and the National Parks,” and to report of the GREAT success of that traveling exhibition and book. The Director of the NPF also suggested I should show Barnabus some of my original printwork, as he often bought photography for the Wallace Fund to add to the Reader’s Digest collection. I am excited to have the opportunity to sell some prints, particularly because Carey and I are about to go on an extended road trip, and I could use some cash. Barney, as he prefers to be called, is a GREAT GUY! Very smart. VERY funny. He is quite impressed with the exhibit and book project, and he saw first-hand the smashing opening night at the New York Public Library, so he fully understands what I have accomplished. Then he speaks to me about my personal work, and I offer to show him prints. He is also impressed with them. Then asks me what I am going to do next. I respond that I am returning to the West Coast, and hoping to go to Alaska. Then, he offers to buy just one print (the Fund only acquires images based in NY, and I only had one of those) which I find a little disappointing. He offers something else, however. He says the Wallace Fund is helping the state revitalize the Hudson River Valley and grow tourism there, and he wants to commission me to take pictures. He has also extended this commission offer to two other photographers whose work I admire, Stephen Shore, and William Clift. When I tell Carey of the offer, she is very excited at the opportunity and possibilities, so we are headed west to check in with my family, tell them of our success and the new commission, and then to organize ourselves for a return to the east, as I plan to LIVE in the Hudson Valley while I do the work.

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

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Friday, February 1, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #133: Daze, #133:  During the days we spend hiking and driving around in the deep south, Great Smoky Mountains National Park comes into FULL spring. Redbud, dogwood, flowering trees of every description go off and blossom. The endless forests of barren branches, leaf out. Birds are everywhere. It is gloriously warm. Then, one morning in the park, I find another image that will go into my growing ORDER FROM CHAOS portfolio. This is “Window in the Forest,” one of my favorites. In the last post, I mention that Carey and are not returning to the north at the end of our trip, but rather, we will drive across the south and southwest, returning to California. Now, however, I will briefly backtrack this story: prior to leaving New York on this camping trip, I had come into the city at the request of the National Park Foundation to meet with Barnabus McHenry, general counsel to the Lili Acheson Wallace Fund that provided early seed money to my “American Photographers and the National Parks” project and book. With effort being SO successful, the NPF wanted me to report about that success in person to the fund, and John Bryant, Director of the NPF, suggested I should take some of my work with me to show as well, because the Wallace Fund often bought photography for the Reader’s Digest collection, one of the companies they owned.

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

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Friday, January 25, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #132: Daze, #132:  Carey and I are not going to return to the north after our camping trip, we are headed for California instead. We are not in any hurry to get there, however, and as yet the spring is still exploding in the forests of Georgia and Tennessee. I want to hang out in the South and continue my work on the ORDER FROM CHAOS series, so she and I visit various cities, and other camping areas, but Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is truly spectacular, and even as some weeks go by, there are still not a lot of people coming to camp. We had so much fun down-climbing the Chimney Tops trail, that on one of our returns to the park, we also go back and ascended that trail. If you wonder why the trail is named as it is, this should explain it. On our first descent of the trail (frame left, above) we had no idea what to expect, and were amazed that it often traversed narrow, exposed ledges, and plunged down holes into tunnels, hence the name “chimney.” Not knowing the trail length, and because it was late on a rainy day, we simply completed the climb down quickly to be sure we were out before dark. We both acknowledged it was amazing, and we barely “saw” anything, so on one of our returns, we have a very nice day, and set out to reverse what we did previously by climbing UP the trail. Here, Carey stands (frame right) at the foot of one of the more obvious chimneys, before we start up. We spent a WONDERFUL leisurely climb for lunch, and then back down for dinner in camp.

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

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Friday, January 18, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #131: Daze, #131:  With warming weather and spring rain, the forests around us begin to come alive. Trees have leaf and flower buds, the ground cover is greening up, and crocus and lilies have begun pushing through the the decaying fall debris to display tiny flowers on the forest floor. Carey and I reach the southern end of our drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which terminates in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and spring has arrived. The campgrounds are open, but only a few visitors are using them yet, so we find a nice site, get ourselves established, and then set out to explore. We stay for several days, and one morning in a light rain, we decide to hike the Chimney Tops Trail. Not knowing much about it, we discover it is approached by a trail and road that make its ascent a simple, uneventful walk-up, nothing challenging at all. Once on top, we encounter a few others, with whom we exchange pleasantries. Then one asks how we came to the summit, and when we respond that we took the park service road, they suggests we should descend the unofficial trail that gave the Chimney name to the same. Apparently that trail, plunges down through rock cracks, narrow terraces, and “chimneys,” and is considered the only “true” trail by the locals. Having no idea what the trail might be like, Carey and I love a good challenge, and so we are off. Some rain blows through, and it grows late in the day before we complete our descent, but it is, indeed, an amazing trail. In the image above, I am traversing a narrow ledge with a stunningly sheer drop to my backside. We have come from the summit in the distance, where you can now see the hazy image of two people standing.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, January 11, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #130: Daze, #130:  As the cold dissipates and the warmth of spring creeps in, many things begin a transformation. Carey and I get in some excellent hikes, and we visit some beautiful cities that lay at the foot of the mountains whose ridgeline creates the Blue Ridge Parkway. Asheville, in particular, provides us with a spectacular evening event. We leave our campground and 3-burner Coleman stove, to have a formal dinner and candlelight tour of the Biltmore House, at 178,926-square-feet, it is the largest privately owned home in America. The gardens at dusk are beautiful, but it is the detailing inside that blows everyone on the tour away. Incredible, grand rooms; elegant furnishings; curious collected artifacts - there is an endless array of things to see and ponder. My favorite, however, manifests during our meal. Well into several courses of food and conversation, I am looking around the huge table at which we are seated, and my eye catches something unusual in the candles displayed. Like many festive candelabras, these tonight feature “decorated” candles. The ones closest to me host tree branches on which doves are perched, and near the top of the candle is a nest with chicks. On the other candelabra there are also branches, but these branches feature a rat that is scouting the dove nest at my end of our table. Back on the road the next morning, I find this from the top of my van, “And Gravity Lets You Down,” which becomes another image in the evolving ORDER FROM CHAOS portfolio. If you wonder about my titles in this series, you need to read this blog for the whole story, but I will tell you this title is a line from The Talking Heads song, “I Get Wild, Wild Gravity,” wherein the lyrics suggest David Byrne is in a hotel room in South Carolina and gravity has let him down. Carey and I can identify with that.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, January 4, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #129: Daze, #129:  As Carey and I continue our slow drive south, camping at locations along the Blue Ridge Parkway in my van, the cold sleet and frosty mornings of winter are giving way to the warmer rains of the coming spring. I have chosen to make this drive hoping to expand the 4x5 camera-based color work that I am doing, with the intention of finding a less obvious subject of color than the brilliant New England fall. My instincts are proving productive, and some unusual, and unexpected, subjects offer themselves up. On one VERY rainy morning, we are pondering our day during a torrential downpour from a parkway turnout. It is raining so hard there is little visibility, BUT after a short time, the squalling ends, the veil lifts, and this appears - trees, grasses, and shrubs of every description, all woven together under a skeletal mantle of kudzu. A world of no notable subject EXCEPT, the framing of the colors and the graphic elements, in some sort of orderly chaos. It is also worth noting, I took classes in formal design, in which we were taught “the rules” of “good” design. One is to never put something in the dead center of the frame that “divides” the picture. Nature has NO design rules. I violate that one as often as possible.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, December 28, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #128: Daze, #128:  I call Carey In NY to tell her of my decision to return and continue my growing body of work, and I ask if she wants to join me once again. She does, and we make plans to wend our way south along the Blue Ridge Parkway and into the deep south for the spring bloom. We start in early spring, so the weather is nearly as miserable as the fall in New England, just a bit warmer. The Blue Ridge Parkway really does run along a ridge and offers up endless vistas. Surrounding the parkway, and on the slopes below us, are dense, deciduous forests, that at the moment have few leaves. Color exists here, either because of the light, or because of the “haze” created by thousands of branches and twigs. One cool evening after dinner, we drive to an overlook for the sunset (and warmth). Photographically, I find both the light and the “haze” going off in a big way. This is "Things Have A Life Of Their Own,” another image that would become part of the ORDER FROM CHAOS portfolio.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, December 21, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #127: Daze, #127:  As I pursue my concepts of color and form within the frame of my 4x5, I am expressing photographically what I feel some of my favorite painters have done with their work, specifically Jackson Pollack. These photographs abstract a large environment by composing in a way that puts the emphasis on the whole rectangle of the picture, not some subject being depicted within the picture. One thing I learn as Carey and I hike. elevation allows me to eliminate the skyline because we are looking down off of ledges. So, I begin to take more advantage of the nice roofrack I built on my van, accessed by a ladder up the back door. It proves a perfect platform. This is “Autumnal Warp,” and it will become another of the images included in the portfolio, ORDER FROM CHAOS. Eventually, Carey and I need to head back to NY, because “American Photographers and the National Parks” is opening at the New York Public Library for the Christmas season. The opening is a smash, and afterwards I fly to LA to see my family and process my film. The film looks great, and certain images are beginning to define the ORDER FROM CHAOS body of work. I have some that utilize the stunning palette of fall colors, but I am especially encouraged by the less obvious, less colorful compositions that succeed, so I decide to return to the East Coast and continue my shooting after winter passes and spring begins.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, December 14, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #126: Daze, #126:  Carey and I have chosen the perfect time to enjoy ourselves in the late fall of the New England states. It is increasingly colder as the days go by, and there are plenty of bouts of bad weather, but during those we drive backroads listening to good music, and I get out upon occasion to work in the rain. On good days, we hike. Vermont is very kind to me and offers up several images important to my career. Carey and I get along well, considering we are living out of a van as winter approaches. The other bonus is that we are the only ones out here! The campgrounds are empty. The trails are people-less, and the summits are our own little private dining areas. Just before Halloween, we venture out onto Cape Cod. One evening we spend overlooking a beautiful bird marsh in Martha’s Vineyard, then we go on to Cape Cod National Seashore and camp in the campground. We are the only ones there. It is a clear, sunny, pleasantly warm day, and the park has a lengthy bike-path, so Carey and I don our roller skates, and spend the entire day doing some of the most scenic and varied terrain skating of my life. Then, smitten with our skating skills, we decided to partake in celebrating Halloween in nearby Provincetown wearing our skates. That could be a whole other blog!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, December 7, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #125: Daze, #125:  Carey Peterson, now learning to travel with me and live out of my van, loves music, reading, and she aspires to be a writer. We both enjoy being physically active, and do not mind being out in challenging conditions. Her energy inspires my work, which is off to a good start, immediately (last post). We are consciously late in the fall season and winter is clearly coming, but one of my work goals is to move past the obvious complexity I find in fall color (posts #108, #109 & #124), to a similarly complex POV, using “other” colors. To that end, much of the brilliant foliage is gone by the time our welcoming rainstorm blows through. The summits are bare, as are many trees, and the colors of fall now lie in the trail. We love it and roll everyday with some new hike or drive. It rains regularly now, and after a 2-day soaker, we take a hike up 4,017ft. Mount Abraham. The day clears as we ascend, so although it is cold, there is no wind, and the summit is sunny and as warm as it is going to get. The view is wonderful. The long-maintained, well-worn trail, an amazing construction of roots and rocks. After lunch, on the walk down, we arrive here. The late sunlight is serving as a color foil to some dead branches that appear to be “constructed.” Because they are also very wet, they are reflecting the blue sky above. Strange-beautiful! This is “Altar/Apparition in Blue,” and it becomes one the 18-images published in the ORDER FROM CHAOS portfolio.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, November 30, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #124: Daze, #124:  My first fall journey through New England, begins with a big party at the home-studio of my friend, Philip Slagter. Through Philip, I have met, and been dating, Carey Peterson (last post). The morning after the party dawns stormy and raining hard, so we all hang about the farmhouse in recovery, and I figure out how to add a second person to my van-living adventure. By midday the weather has not improved, so Carey and I just leave our friends and drive into the storm,..north to Vermont. The weather is REALLY terrible! We drive in torrential rain until it is dark, pulling off the road into the forest, near a small Vermont township. When we awake the next morning, the rain has stopped, and it is bracingly cold, so we take a drive to enjoy the van’s heater, and to see where we are. The nearby town is very small, and it has a lovely old church surrounded by a rock wall as it’s centerpiece. The wall is covered with various layers of growth, all now radiant in their rain-saturated colors. The same sound soaking has turned the rocks of the wall nearly black. The contrast is striking, and this becomes my first 4x5 picture of the trip. In the end, this image is NOT included in what becomes the ORDER FROM CHAOS portfolio, BUT I revisit this image in 2006, 23yrs. later, slicing a top-to-bottom, narrow panel out of it - the column of bright red leaves near center - and creating the first of my new digital work, CHOOSE JOY.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, November 23, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #123: Daze, #123:  Many good things come from hanging out with friend and fellow artist, Philip Slagter at his home in rural Connecticut. Two images (posts #108 & 109) I make while visiting, jump start my ideas behind what would become the portfolio, ORDER FROM CHAOS. Philip has a really interesting girlfriend, Marta Recio, also an artist, and it is through her I meet Carey Peterson (above). Carey has come to New York from Minnesota, and she works odd jobs in the city to survive, but takes an occasional trip with Marta to Connecticut to hang out at Philip’s home-studio. When I finish my work on the exhibit and book, “American Photographers and the National Parks," and leave DC to go on the road in my van and pursue my personal photography, I start my road trip after the Corcoran Gallery opening, and I head for New England. That takes me through New York and Philip’s home in Connecticut, so I suggest to Carey she could leave her job, stop sleeping on her friend's sofa, and join me on the road. At this point we have been seeing each other for some months, and we are getting along, so she agrees, although she expresses that it seems like a wacky idea. The fall is wet, cold, and beautiful. We enjoy many lovely inns, have great hikes, and summit a respectable number of peaks in the Green Mountains of Vermont. This shot is from an overlook near an inn, and it is not only the last light of day, but it the last ray of warmth as well.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, November 16, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #122: Daze, #122:  Shooting the image in my last post, encourages my expansion of subject matter from obvious fall colors, to other palettes. I also have large swaths of free time between exhibit receptions for “American Photographers and the National Parks,” (posts #116-117), so I leave my home in Maryland to live out of my van and pursue my color photography, trying to build a portfolio of work around an idea I have. I have always lived on the West Coast, and only recently have begun to visit the East, so what I know of it, is mostly big cities like New York and DC. Camping in the van becomes my doorway to a much more rural experience. Over the course of several seasons, I travel as far north as New Hampshire and the border with Canada, and south, down in to Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolina’s, often driving the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway. In Vermont, I discover the Green Mountain trail system connects to lovely historic inns, so you can summit something different everyday, stay in a different inn every night, and do it all with a daypack. Really sweet! And, great food! Who could not resist climbing Mount Moosalamoo and being photographed with the summit signage?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, November 9, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #121: Daze, #121:  Once “American Photographers and the National Parks” ( posts #116-117) begins to travel, there is no need for me to be at the National Park Foundation offices in DC on a daily basis anymore. I want to pursue my color work in the eastern woodlands, in particular, and so I give up my rental home in Maryland, and begin to travel and live out of my van. From images I have already created (posts #107-109), I know I have an abundance of color to work with given the New England fall, but I don’t want obvious “fall colors” to be the only subject. A few days before I extract myself from DC, I take a camera walk on a cold, blustery day, well after all of the fall colors have gone. My walk brings me to a high berm at the edge of the forest, where I stop to hear the way the gusting wind rattles through the barren limbs, and I take this picture. Entitled, “Have You Ever Listened To The Forest Breathe?”, it becomes one of the images that will be published in my ORDER FROM CHAOS portfolio. This particular image is also acquired by John Szarkowski for the collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. It is part of the collection of the Amon Carter Museum in Texas, and the Huntington, Library, Gardens, and Galleries in Los Angeles, as well.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, November 2, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #120: Daze, #120:  It is fortunate for me that the “American Photographers and the National Parks” exhibit generally runs four months at each location, because it takes that long for me to recover from the stunning Transamerica sponsored opening receptions. They make it clear they intend to spend lavishly on the receptions in cities where they have significant presence, starting with the spring premier at the Oakland Museum. I thought that was one of the finest food/wine museum events that I ever attended. The next stop is in the fall at the Corcoran Gallery in DC. I fail to realize how politically powerful Transamerica is, but the DC reception makes that clear. There is a full service liquor bar, should you not want to drink the champagne. There is a fresh seafood station. There are servers shucking raw oysters over an ice-deck, next to a fountain sporting naked bronze babies. Everyone is dressed to the nines. Transamerica is ecstatic because over 100 members of the Congress are here, and over 50 from the Senate. THEY all love the show, and my night becomes a whirlwind of introductions, card exchanges, and many new ties and possibilities. The winter opening at the New York Public Library is even more over the top (above). To start with, the library has been closed for remodeling and restoration, which includes a new gallery space to display their significant print collection. My show will be the first they exhibit as the library reopens just before the Christmas season. This party sees huge Christmas trees brought in. The place is completely decorated. The food and liquor is as extravagant as ever. This time, a lot of us are wearing a tux. In addition to the above banners hung on all sides of the library, every other lamppost on 5th Avenue has a banner as well. To the right, above, you see lamppost banners strung the length of Michigan Avenue in Chicago, when the show is installed at the Chicago Historical Society.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, October 26, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #119: Daze, #119:  As this blog has previously posted, while working with the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies (LACPS), I generated and directed many projects. Most were exhibits, often accompanied with some kind of publishing. The Paul Outerbridge collection (post #50 & #88) was one such effort, as was the survey of Los Angeles photographers assembled and displayed at the corporate headquarters of Security Pacific Bank (post #86). My last curatorial project with LACPS, before moving to DC as Curator of Photography for the National Park Foundation, was a retrospective of the Harlem photographer, James Van Der Zee (post #110-111). There is one project, however, that I actually gave up to another organization. The printing material Michael Wilder and I use, Cibachrome, requires some VERY toxic chemistry to process, and the wet darkroom in general offers a lot of chemical exposure to users. Not just in the air of the enclosed darkroom, but also in the various liquids used for processing. All good B&W printers use Selenium as a toner and preservative, but liquid selenium is very toxic and can be absorbed through the skin. Most photographers I know, rarely work with gloves on, and yet they constantly put their hands in trays of various chemical solutions. It seems, as a photographer, we should know more about our work environment, so on a trip to New York, I meet with a non-profit group that researches and publishes literature about occupational health hazards. They are VERY interested in my idea, but say it will take a good deal of funding, as no research has previously been done. I take the possible project back to LACPS, and they are interested, but do not feel they can raise the money, especially if I am leaving the group to work in DC. Not wanting to drop the idea and the contacts, while doing interviews with photographers for my National Park exhibit, I offer the darkroom health project to Jim Alinder, who is currently the Director of Friends of Photography (FOP), a group founded by Ansel Adams. Jim agrees with me that the research would be useful, so I hand the project off to the Friends. Several years go by while I work on my National Park exhibit and book, and shortly after the first installation of that exhibit at the Oakland Museum, FOP publishes, OVEREXPOSURE: Health Hazards in Photography. It becomes a definitive guide to protecting yourself when working in a wet darkroom. (Sorry my only copy is so water-stained and damaged.)
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Friday, October 19, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #118: Daze, #118:  With the curatorial work completed for “American Photographers and the National Parks,” (last 2 posts), and the first exhibit location, the Oakland Museum, now open to the public, I am tasked with following up on magazine requests, and interviews. The sponsor, Transamerica, also wants me to be present and lecture at specific exhibit locations. In the interim, I return to Los Angeles and my wet darkroom, to complete the laborious task of printing out the signed, limited edition, portfolio of 24-prints, “WINTERS: 1970-1980.” (post #115). As the 20 portfolios near completion, I exhibit select prints in various locations (including New York, posts #113-114), and attract the attention of editors at ZERO, a writer and artist publication, that engages spiritual contemplation and philosophical thinking. They are developing an issue in which photographer, Lewis Baltz, will publish and write about his newest body of work, “Park City.” The entire issue is about a “sense of place,” and they would like to do a pictures-only layout, called “In Situ,” using images from WINTERS, along with those of friends, Laurie Brown and Grant Mudford - fellow Los Angeles area photographers with VERY different work. What you see, above, is the ZERO cover, featuring a Lewis Baltz image, and the back cover, featuring my image, "Avalanche Lake Basin,” from my WINTERS portfolio.
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Friday, October 12, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #117: Daze, #117:  In doing the curatorial work for “American Photographers and the National Parks,” I take some “unusual” approaches, hoping to make the exhibit as broad-reaching, comprehensive, and interesting as possible. I do a great deal of “road work”, quite literally. I travel in my van to meet with, interview, and select prints from many of my contemporaries, including Ansel Adams, Brett Weston, William Garnett, Roger Minick, Eliot Porter, Paul Caponigro, and William Clift. I visit institutional collections like the Oakland Museum, the Amon Carter Museum, and the Museum of New Mexico, but I also go to valuable, but less visited or researched collections, like the Colorado Historical Society, the Denver Public Library, the National Park Service’s Yosemite Collection, and the Research Library Special Collections of both UCLA, and UC Santa Cruz. In all, to assemble the 35 photographers and 200 prints involved, I work with 9 institutions, 6 private galleries, and 5 unique collections, or personal family trusts. I do one more thing, most institutional curators find astounding - I call for an open submission of portfolios through all the major photography magazines and other publications. In dealing with well known photographers, what I hope to find and include, are images less-known. What I also want to present are less-known photographers, or ones you might not expect in an exhibit with this title. I view more than 5,000 images over the course of one year. The reward of doing this is to be able to incorporate many surprises within an exhibit that most think predictable. As you saw in the last post, a Roger Minick image is not only in the show, but it is one of the large posters for the exhibit, as well. Jerry Uelsmann contributed his highly darkroom manipulated work; Gail Skoff hand-colored all of her photographs; Anne Brigman staged dramatic figures in her landscapes; and Imogen Cunningham photographed her husband nude, frolicking in a park. I found one-of-a-kind, and not-seen-before Edward Weston’s in the UC Library Collections; Carleton Watkins images unique to the Yosemite Collection; and the Library of Congress offered up the remarkable William Henry Jackson chromolithographs (last post, slipcase cover). Our generous sponsor, Transamerica, recognizing the importance of what I have done, also publishes a COMPLETE catalog to document every image in the show (above). The catalog cover features a magnificent (and rarely seen) Carleton Watkins, which is also used as one of the posters for the exhibit.
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Friday, September 28, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #116: Daze, #116:  The small “teaser” exhibit that I assembled at the White House, when Interior Secretary, Cecil Andrus, hosted the National Park Foundation board for tea (post #98), worked perfectly. Everyone was impressed and recognized the possibilities of the larger exhibit that I was proposing, but ultimately, it was board member, Jim Harvey, CEO of Transamerica, who provided more than $500,000 throughout the life of the project. So it comes to be that on a brilliantly sunny day in May of 1981, “American Photographers and the National Parks,” opens in The Great Hall of the Oakland Museum, where one can view the artwork inside, and while dining on a stunning array of food and wine on the lawn, outside, they can see the corporate offices of the Transamerica-pyramid, gleaming in the heart of downtown SF, on the other side of the bay. Fellow San Franciscans, also on the NPF board with Jim Harvey, are Charles Schwab, and Walter and Evelyn Hass, of Levi Strauss, big SF companies as well. Helping to get the party started behind this exhibit, they have all worked together to bring out San Francisco’s finest, and on quite a fine day. I would learn this is just a warm-up for other locations to which the show will travel. Simultaneous with the opening, Viking Books publishes, American Photographers and the National Parks. For both the book, and the exhibit, our first reviews are EXCELLENT, noting particularly that there are many, not-seen-before vintage prints, such as the William Henry Jackson chromolithograph shown above on the cover of the slipcase. Reviewers also found some of the photographers included, surprising, like Roger Minick, whose image, above left, is also a poster for the exhibit. There are 35 photographers included, and 200 prints. It is a HUGE exhibit, and hugely important! From the Oakland Museum, it travels next to the Corcoran Gallery of Art (DC), then, Christmas season at the New York Public Library (5th & 42nd, NY), the Chicago Historical Society (IL), the Amon Carter Museum (TX), the Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute (PA), the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts (MN), the Denver Art Museum (CO), and lastly, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA). In alphabetical order, the photographers included are: Ansel Adams, William Bell, Dave Bohn, Anne Brigman, Harry Callahan, Paul Caponigro, William Clift, Linda Conner, Imogen Cunningham, George Fiske, Lee Friedlander, William Garnett, Laura Gilpin, John K. Hillers, William Henry Jackson, Charles V. Janda, Robert Glenn Ketchum, Joel Meyerowitz, Roger Minick, Richard Misrach, Boone Morrison, David Mussina, Eadweard J. Muybridge, Ted Orland, Timothy O’Sullivan, John Pfahl, Eliot Porter, Gail Skoff, Michael A. Smith, Jerry N. Uelsmann, Carleton E. Watkins, Brett Weston, Edward Weston, Minor White, and Don Worth. I spend a lot of time with this blog providing useful links, but it is now YOUR turn to do some research! Do you know these photographers? Are you aware of this historical relationship between the park system, photographers, and our consciousness of the natural world that helps define us as Americans?
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Friday, September 14, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #115: Daze, #115:  Laurance Rockefeller is part of the Rockefeller family that built Rockefeller Center, home to Nikon House where my aquaculture exhibit is about to have an opening reception. He is also good friends with John Bryant, Director of the National Park Foundation, for whom I am currently doing research for the proposed exhibit and book, American Photographers and the National Parks. I am VERY honored that Laurance and his wife Mary have come to see my show, but I assume that is because John has prevailed upon them to do so. Of course, I invite them in, and after pleasantries are passed between all, Laurance and Mary are eager to have me walk them through my SEAFARM exhibit. As I learn in our conversation, Laurance is a very progressive venture capitalist, and he has various investments in aquaculture worldwide, so he came to see my exhibit, because he knows a lot about the subject, and is struck by such an exhibit showing up “at his front door.” The three of us have a marvelous 1/2-hour conversation as we encircle the room, and then they want to leave before the doors open to the public. Bear with me here! When in LA, bedsides working with Michael Wilder to print this show, I am busily printing the 24 images for my soon-to-be-published, B&W portfolio, “WINTERS: 1979-1980". I have finished about 1/2 of the 24-print sets for the proposed edition of 20. Nikon House has a small, intimate gallery on their second floor, that is supposed to host another photographers show during my exhibit. At the last minute, he cancels, and Nikon House asks me if I have a smaller body of work that I might place in that gallery, so I send them the portfolio. Now, as I walk Laurance and Mary toward the exit, Laurance asks if I do other work, so I tell him some is in the second floor gallery, if he would like to see it. They would like, so I escort them upstairs. The two of them become very quiet, leave me, and walk around independently. It is a small space, and dark, so the radiant whiteness of my images is glowing on the walls. Mary keeps making quiet sounds of interest and approval, and occasionally Laurance says something like, “remarkable,” or “I have never seen a photograph like this.” I am hoping this is a good thing, BUT the work in the portfolio is an OBVIOUS break with the traditions of landscape photography represented in the previous generation, such as Ansel Adams, so I am still unsure if the Rockefellers like these prints, or are just shocked. After a time, the two collect themselves, and once again begin their departure. At the top of the stairs, Laurance turns to me and says that these images are some of the most beautiful and exciting photography he and Mary have encountered, and he feels I understand the landscape in a “completely new way.” Then, they are out into the cold winter night, and I return to my other guests. Above is the portfolio box for WINTERS, designed by the Randolph and Claudia Laub Studio in LA. Playing on the notably rectangular shape of a print from a full-frame 35mm negative, AND the abstract and minimalism reflected in most of my images, I copy an Asian design idea. The portfolio box is wrapped in brilliantly white, textured rice paper. The portfolio title has been debossed in silver. The “chop” has also been debossed in “Chinese” red, and has been created from the signature of my initials, RGK. “WINTERS: 1970-1980” sold out many years ago. Most portfolios went to private collections, but I am happy to say that the Amon Carte Museum (TX), the Katzen Museum/American University (DC), the Hudson River Museum (NY), the National Museum of American Art (DC), and the Huntington Library, Collections and Botanical Gardens (LA) all have it in their holdings.
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Friday, September 7, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #114: Daze, #114:  Because I force Elisabeth and Harry Abrams to pay me more money for the work I have done for SEAFARM, they are angry, and will no longer support my proposed exhibit. Nonetheless, my Master Printer, Michael Wilder  and I forge ahead and build a very attractive body of exhibit work. With a bit of luck, I replace support I thought I would receive from Abrams, with support from Nikon, one of the camera manufacturers that provided me with cameras for this project. Nikon operates an historic camera display space and exhibition gallery in Rockefeller Center, just adjacent the skating rink, and they have offered to exhibit my aquaculture images there. They time the exhibit to benefit from the release of the book, which is late fall, and thus I find myself, in Manhattan during the Christmas holidays, with an exhibit up in an very nice gallery space, and a HUGE audience passing through everyday. I have developed a good relationship with John Bryant, the Director of the National Park Foundation, for whom I am organizing my proposed exhibit and book, American Photographers and the National Parks, and John loves NY, and has many friends there. He volunteers to “help” attract an audience for my exhibit, so he flies to NY for the opening. As the last minute prepping occurs at Nikon House, John and I are admiring the exhibit and the effort Nikon House is putting into the evening, when a gallery employee approaches me to ask if I would mind giving someone a personal tour before the public display opens. As it turns out Laurance and Mary Rockefeller are outside and are hoping I will invite them in before it becomes too crowded.
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Friday, August 31, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #113:
Daze, #113:  As you might imagine, Harry N. Abrams, one of the premier publishing houses in the world, is not pleased that I hire a lawyer and challenge them over image copyright and usage payments for my pictures created to compliment Elisabeth’s book, SEAFARM. They threaten not to publish Elisabeth, and force her to pressure me, which ends are friendship. Although an agreement of use is finally reached, and I have over 80% of the more than 200 pictures in the book, my name is removed from the cover as principle photographer, and they choose a cover image that I know is intended to insult me. Abrams also declines to do a second publication which they had proposed on my initial visit, AND they withdraw their support for any exhibition. Within all of the images, there are many I think are important, or strange-beautiful, but they do not necessarily get included in the book. I also realize some images have been overlooked because their extreme lighting would make them difficult to reproduce in paper print. Now in a great working relationship with Master Printer, Michael Wilder, I know we can bring more out of some pictures than a publisher ever could. So, not to be denied just because Abrams withdraws their support, I use some of the money I make from usage sales, and I print an exhibit that has no audience, and no place to display. The prints are beautiful, as I had hoped, and Wilder works his magic on the extremes of contrast, like the above image. It is 98˙ and 100% humidity. We are on a raft in the Bay of Bengal that cultures lobster and mussels, and we have arrived here by dugout canoe. Strange-beautiful! As my body of printed images grows, it occurs to me that one of my major equipment sponsors for the project was Nikon, and they operate Nikon House in New York, a very nice small gallery and camera display museum on the corner of Rockefeller Center facing the skating rink. Thousands of people pass through their doors every day. So, I contact Nikon, they are interested, and tell me to go meet the gallery manager in NY. I take some of the prints with me when I go. It is a great meeting, and the manager also realizes that although Abrams may not promote the exhibit, the publishing of SEAFARM will, so he wants to time the show to the book release. As it happens, that will be late fall, so it is arranged that my aquaculture exhibit will be displayed in the main gallery of Nikon House during the Christmas holiday season, also a time when the skating rink draws its largest crowd. I still have no idea what to do after that, but I am happy to get the work up at all, and feel that there will be some kind of response, so I commit financially to the rest of the printing, then frame it all, and build crates.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, August 24, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #112:
Daze, #112:  On my visits to New York, I not only do curatorial work for the Van Der Zee exhibit I am assembling on behalf of the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies, I am also in a steep learning curve working with Harry Abrams and Elisabeth Mann Borgese to produce a book about worldwide aquaculture practices. It is NOT pretty. After I show ALL of the work I have created during my around-the-world trip to their editors, Abrams is blown away, and so elated, they actually discuss a possible spin-off book about pig-farming (I do not joke!), and want to support a traveling print exhibit I propose. They also say they now plan to use MANY more of my images. Of course, I am excited, but I do something REALLY smart without realizing it - when I leave NY for LA after my presentation, I take ALL my work back with me. In LA, I realize I only have a loose letter of commitment from Elisabeth, and was only offered a minimal fee, because no one was sure I would rise to the occasion. Now, however, everybody sees the potential in the work, so I want to be paid more, and I want to share in magazine story sales, etc. I begin working with the attorney, Barry Fisher, who has done some advising to LACPS. When I call Abrams to tell them my plans, they go crazy. They tell me they OWN ALL the work and I will NOT be paid anything further. They finish the conversation by telling me, what I do, doesn’t matter because “they have the film” and will proceed with Elisabeth to complete the book. Before my editor hangs up on me, I correct her concept that Abrams has my work, informing her that ALL of it is sitting with me in LA. Long story, short - Abrams turns on Elisabeth to get the pics. Elisabeth turns on me. Her foundation and I agree to share copyright. I get the first $35,000 from magazine story sales, then 50/50 after. She never sees or speaks to me again. My name is taken off the cover as principle photographer, and the cover shot is chosen to insult me, as it is a poor-quality, Russian image of sturgeon farming, the one thing I did NOT get to photograph. 80% of the pictures are mine and they look great. SEAFARM becomes the most definitive book published regarding aquaculture for 20yrs., selling over 70,000 copies.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, August 17, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #111:
Daze, #111:  To organize a retrospective body of the work of James Van Der Zee, I first must be sure the prints are available, and in good condition, so my new colleague, Robert Dockery (far right), arranges for me to meet James and his wife, the next time I travel to New York. It is a great meeting. James is quite amazing, very conversational, AND he has a large collection of well-kept vintage prints. There are spectacular images of life in Harlem that I have never seen in any publication. There is also a huge collection of small prints, that are exclusively of people in their caskets, apparently a black family tradition. When I see these, I know immediately that this could be a remarkable, and very different exhibit. In LA, I work with Dockery to find funding from major black LA institutions and businesses, and bring in the Bank Of Finance and Pro-Line Corporation as sponsors. Needing a stylish venue, in or near downtown, I approach Josine Ianco-Starrels at the Barnsdall Municipal Art Gallery, because I also want the city to get involved, and she and I/LACPS have worked successfully together before. Josine immediately gets what I am putting together, and signs on, offering me the largest galleries for his “regular” printwork, but then offering to create a small gallery, like a private viewing space, where we would put the casket portraiture. The Oakland Museum of California also learns of the show LACPS is creating, and they would like to exhibit it at their museum, as well. Josine does an amazing job on the installation, including the HUGE mural of Van Der Zee in a stylish brim, in front of which we are all standing. Van Der Zee flies out for the opening, and Josine arranges for the final polish on his plate, a fantastic sit down dinner, served in the long-closed-to-the-public, Hollyhock House, adjacent the gallery. The exhibit brakes attendance records at both institutions. (FYI, I am standing next to Van Dr Zee’s wife.)
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, August 10, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #110:
Daze, #110:  I am now doing a lot of travel between the coasts. I have a book about aquaculture being edited in New York. I am starting a curatorial project for the National Park Foundation in Washington, DC, and in Los Angeles, I have been made Executive Director of the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies (LACPS). I formerly served them as an exhibit curator, and project director, helping to put them on the map with my discovery of the Paul Outerbridge Collection, and the subsequent exhibit and national tour. The success of that project makes me visible to many people, one of whom is a black Hollywood agent, Robert Dockery. When we are introduced, he asks if I know the work of James Van Der Zee, and I am familiar with a few images, so he is surprised when I say, yes. I quickly follow with the fact that I have never seen many images, but I know he was a chronicler of what was called The Harlem Renaissance. Robert tells me he knows the Van Der Zee family, James is 92 and still living in New York, AND his wife wonders if a collection of his best prints could be assembled and exhibited to honor him. LACPS is working very hard to be representative of photographers from all over the city, and it is one of the reasons we do co-operative exhibits with other institutions in widely scattered locations from the westside to downtown. The idea that we might better connect with black photographers and their community could really be served by such an exhibit of Van Der Zee’s work, so I am very interested.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, August 3, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #109:
Daze, #109:  I knew when I took the picture in the previous post, that I was seeing color in a way I had never seen it before. It is not just the rain-saturation. It is also the way the lines and colored objects/subjects are configured within the rectangle of the frame. It is very abstract. There is no subject IN the picture, the subject IS the picture, simply a rectangle filled with random elements that coalesce on the ground glass when I arrange my camera POV. As I move the camera, shapes, forms, and a myriad of colors swim back-and-forth, until something within my personal vision says a harmony, a balance within the frame, has been reached. Philip and I are only at Squantz’s Pond a short while and the rain begins again, so we head back home. Driving to his property, I am pondering what just happened, and trying to take in what it might mean for additional pictures. One of my thoughts/fears, is that the moment I just photographed, was so over-the-top, it will be hard to find another such subject. The rest of the day is spent being lazy at Philip’s home, while a hard rain continues outside. When we awake the next morning, however, the rain has stopped, and the sun is beginning to rise, so I go outside for a walk in the yard. The world is sparkling,..and very wet. Then, at the side of the house I find this. Instantly, I know it is not only as beautiful as what I saw yesterday, it is also the opposite end of the color spectrum, sporting many colors not found at the pond. I have always seen these two images as a “pair,” and thus titled this image, “Brewster Boogie Woogie, #11. It will become the second image to be included in my to-be-published ORDER FROM CHAOS portfolio. The title for these two is a riff on paintings by Piet Mondrian. In a famous series of linear abstracts, Mondrian titled all of the images, "Broadway Boogie Woogie - with a number,” claiming they were based on his view of busy Broadway from his apartment window. I felt my subjects are easily as abstract as his, about the same busyness as well, if not more so (this time in nature), and we are close to the town of Brewster. Mondrian abstracted the rhythm of life in the city. I am abstracting the ACTUAL rhythm of life.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, July 27, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #108:
Daze, #108:  Shortly after making the image in the previous post, while enjoying the fall around Washington, DC, my friend, Doug Metro, the skating painter in New York, calls to suggest that I go spend time with a friend of his, another painter named, Philip Slagter, who lives in Connecticut. Phil called Doug to come and see the incredible fall, and Doug could not go that weekend, but suggested I should, AND that I should take my cameras. The drive from DC to where Philip lives in Connecticut is not long, and quite fall-beautiful everywhere. The 1,500-acre estate Philip helps manage is nearest to the town of Brewster, and very rural. Phil and I have not met, but we befriend each other quickly, and settle in to enjoy his home, his art, and the estate. Fall is raging and the first night of my stay, a hard rain falls, flooding rivers and meadows, and saturating the woodland colors. When the rain lets up, Philip decides to take me to see Squantz Pond, a location he enjoys nearby. I do not remember seeing the pond. After the above occurred, I think my mind went blank. This image is “Brewster Boogie Woogie, #27", and it would become the first of my new photographs that will eventually be published as the portfolio, ORDER FROM CHAOS.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, July 20, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #107:
Daze, #107:  I am doing very different things with my different cameras. The body of work I am building with my 35mm camera is B&W, and minimalistic. The color work I am doing with a 4x5 view camera, and rather than being pictures ABOUT the landscape, my images turn the landscape into an abstraction of color, line, and detail. I first “saw” the possibility of making these images, when I took one of my early color photographs in Sun Valley. “Cottonwood Thicket” (post #43) uses the intense detail of brush and twigs - thousand of lines amassed in one bush - to create color. Throughout the 70’s, while teaching in Sun Valley, and adventuring in the Rockies with my friends, I developed a body of color work that pursued that visual idea further. The prints sold well, but to my eye, there was a monotony of color, and not the stunning palette I could see in the work of Eliot Porter. By the end of the 70’s I am visiting the East Coast frequently to work on a book for Harry Abrams about aquaculture, and begin the assembly of the exhibition I proposed to the National Park Foundation. That exhibition is going to require a massive amount of research and print gathering from the artists that I am hoping to include, all of which will be done from the offices of the NPF, so it is clear to me that I will be moving to DCfor awhile. During my plane visits, I establish a home to rent in Glen Echo, just outside the city. The, on my next trip east, I combine my moving needs with my project research, and I take a LONG, circuitous drive to Washington, that involves meeting and interviewing photographers, working with them to select prints, and making arrangements for the prints to be delivered to the NPF. First I travel north to Carmel and San Francisco where I connect with Ansel Adams, Jim Alinder, Brett & Cole Weston, William Garnett, and Richard Misrach. Then, I head south to Santa Fe, NM where I spend time with Eliot Porter, William Clift, and Paul Caponigro. I also visit museum collections along the way, in particular the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, TX. I do little of my own photography on the drive because I am SO focused on the curatorial process, but once settled in DC, fall has arrived, and to have a look at it, I throw my 4x5 in my van and take a drive along the Potomac Parkway. When I see this, I pull on to the median, and set up my camera, but I am not sure what it is that I am supposed to be taking a picture of. On the view screen of a 4x5, the image is upside-down and backwards, so it is fairly abstract already, but when all of this swims into view as I move the camera about, I realize THIS is the “Eliot Porter” color I have been searching for in my western work, and it IS HERE in these eastern forests, where I am now living.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, July 13, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #106:
Daze, #106:  Then, there is this guy. This is another lifelong friend and fellow artist, Philip Slagter, sitting in front of his farmhouse home in Connecticut. Work in Washington, DC, and a book project in New York, bring me to the East Coast frequently in the late 70’s. Work in NY, in particular, is causing me to stay for weeks at a time. My friend, the artist, Doug Metrov, has a huge warehouse-like studio just off lower 5th Avenue, and he is happy to let me crash there. At some point in one of my visits, it is late fall and Metrov has been talking to a friend of his that lives in “the country.” The friend mentions that the fall is spectacular, and says Doug should come visit. As it turns out, Doug cannot go on the coming weekend, but assures me that I should, AND that I should take my camera. Doug’s friend is a Philip Slagter. Philip does not know me, but seems comfortable with me coming to visit, so I leave Doug in NY, and head to the rolling hills and forests of Connecticut. Like Doug, Philip is a fantastic painter, and he has a big, rambling farmhouse as his studio. He stays in this house as “the property manager,” to a MUCH larger estate. The owner also has a larger house “nearby" on-property, but when the property is 1,500 acres, “nearby” is relative. Philip and I get along quite well. We eat, we drink, he paints, we stroll around the property while I take pictures, LOTS of friends stop by all the time, AND the fall colors just keep getting more amazing everyday.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, July 6, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #105:
Daze, #105:  Because I live in Los Angeles, it is always important for me to be in suitable shape to mountaineer with my friends, as I never want to be seen by them as any less capable or dependable. So, a fad of the 70’s becomes a great exercise resource, especially since I tour ski. I refer to roller-skating. In the early 70’s, I am cruising on the 26-mile shoreline bikepath near my home, and for the first time, I see someone skating on the path. What is TRULY different is, these skates sport soft-riding, skateboard “street” wheels. It makes TOTAL sense to me, and within days, I buy a pair for myself, stop riding my bike, and start skating everywhere to exercise. By the time the late 70’s arrive, I am a good street-skater. I am also going to New York (for my proposed Abrams book about aquaculture, and Washington, DC (assembling the photo exhibit at The White House a good bit, and I realize both cities have ideal street locations in which to skate. In DC, it is Jefferson Drive around the Smithsonian mall. In New York, it is EVERYWHERE! Central Park on the weekends is always fun. The dance clubs, Studio 54 and The Red Parrot, allow good skaters in, and best of all for me, the Wall Street District on the weekends, when no one is there. Gigantic marble plazas. Great public art everywhere. A breeze coming off the Hudson on a warm summer day. My friends and I, literally roll early, stay out ALL day, and come home well into the night, never taking our skates off! To the left is my lifelong friend and fellow artist, Doug Metrov, who is always up for a skate-about. To the right, Vicki Golden, my partner at the time, and I share a kiss under an amazing DeBuffet sculpture on Wall Street.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, June 29, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #104:
Daze, #104:  After a day of cross-country touring through the incredible trees of the Giant Grove in Sequoia National Park, friends and I often stop on the highway returning to Three Rivers, and climb carefully down into the Kaweah River Gorge. WE DO NOT EVER DO THIS TO GO SWIMMING! We do it to sun, snack, and enjoy the privacy of a very powerful, wild place. As you can see from previous posts, if you pick the right time of the year, all the “gardens” are blooming and verdant, and that is another reason I enjoy climbing around in them so much. However, in those same previous posts, I warn repeatedly that trying to swim here, or accidentally slipping into to these freezing cold, raging waters, and you WILL PROBABLY DIE! Fierce currents in these pools can pin you underwater, and the granite closest to the water has been polished smooth by higher waters during flood stage. If it is wet, or you are wet, that polished rock is VERY slippery. Note in this image we are enjoying ourselves, but everyone is well back from the slope edge of the boulders. Once in the water, even if you can stay afloat, there is nowhere to climb out. The park and the gorge are seeing a big spring runoff this year, and on June 10, the first death of 2018 in the Kaweah, occurred. A second person drowned less than 10-days later. If you choose to play here, be wary. Remember as well, poison oak is lurking everywhere, be careful what you touch, and as soon as you are home, shed your clothes, wash them, and take a shower yourself
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, June 22, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #103:
Daze, #103:  After our descent through the vertical gardens of the Kaweah River Gorge, the vegetation gives way to the water-smoothed granite that creates the gorge. There are sunny terraces well above the water, just perfect for sunbathing, snacking, and napping. Very few people take this hike. It is VERY private down here. As you can see, however, this is NOT a place to go swimming. The water in these pools is deep, cold, and flowing fast. The pools have dangerous currents, and were you to fall in, the walls are so steep there would be few places for you to climb out. This is NOT a swimming hole! This is just a very nice place to relax, be private, and enjoy the sounds of wind and water, while you watch weather blow through above you, and all the life of the spring bloom, thrive around you.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, June 15, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #102:
Daze, #102:  After tour skiing during the morning in the big trees of Sequoia National Park, some friends and I have stopped on the road back down from the snow-covered Giant Forest, parked the car, and we are now “going over the side.” We are descending through vertical gardens into the Kaweah River Gorge. It is a spectacular climb through patches of wildflowers and flowering trees. The afternoon is hot, and the gorge even hotter, so there is cactus and agave in abundance, but amazingly, beneath the shade of the trees there are ferns and boulders blanketed by lush mosses. This is a world a very different micro-niches living immediately adjacent one another. This is also a good adventure,..but ONLY IF you are careful. The descent is steep and the route has to meander because of ledges and other obstacles. If you expect to get back up without getting stuck somewhere, you need to be able to retrace your route. The steep sections of exposed granite can be slippery, as this is no different then climbing in alpine rock, and it requires your care and attention. It may not seems as threatening because of all the vegetation, but the danger of falling is still there. Lastly, it is the vegetation, itself, that is one of the greatest threats. Interwoven with these verdant terraces is an abundance of poison oak. YOU NEED TO WATCH EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH, OR BRUSH UP AGAINST. This can be done. I have made this descent many times and never been infected, but others with me have not been so lucky. If you are cautious and watchful, this can be a VERY fun end to the day. If not, life will be unpleasant for WEEKS after!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, June 8, 2018


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #101:
Daze, #101:  Leaving the road into Sequoia National Park and climbing down into the Kaweah River Gorge is not to be taken lightly. Because I am telling you about it in this blog, in full disclosure, this is a REALLY fun thing to do, IF AND ONLY IF, you do it VERY carefully. OTHERWISE, it is very dangerous! It is a beautiful terrain that is VERY STEEP. On hot sunny days, there are certainly snakes. There is a good deal of cactus and spiny agave (such as you see here) that must be worked around, and there are limited ways to work around anything because the terrain is so vertical. Then, once next to the river, FORGET ABOUT SWIMMING. The water is stunningly cold, moving very fast, and the deep pools harbor treacherous currents. MOST IMPORTANTLY, to anybody trying this - if you expect to do this adventure, you must be VERY OBSERVANT and cautious as to where you place your hands and feet, and what you brush up against. These hillsides are covered with poison oak.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, June 1, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #100:
Daze, #100:  Back in LA, my proposed landscape exhibit now fully-funded thanks to an amazing “mini preview” staged in the foyer of the White House, I turn my attention to the other curatorial projects I have organized, while serving as Director of the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies. I still escape out-of-state for occasional shoots to further my personal work and the stories I am publishing in POWDER magazine, but I continue to visit Three Rivers, as well, taking advantage of the use of a client’s home, while exploring the area, particularly Sequoia National Park. After many visits, my friends I have learned some “secrets” about how to enjoy the park. Spring is an especially desirable time. It may snow daily in the big trees, which makes for great skiing, BUT the days are warming, and spring is coming to the Three Rivers valley floor, and the steep slopes of the Kaweah River as it flows through the park. The spring bloom brings forth wildflowers, and a profusion of blossoming trees and bushes that decorate the vertical hillsides of the Kaweah Gorge as it parallels the steeply ascending, switchback road into the Sequoia groves. One sunny afternoon, following a great morning of skiing up higher, friends and I stop at a pull-out on the road down, to have a view into the gorge. EVERYTHING is flowering, the sun is inviting, and my friends and I decide to take a hike,..over the side, and DOWN.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, May 25, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #99:
Daze, #99:  I am surprised that my friend, Bill Lund, takes my proposal about creating an exhibit around the idea that the history of American landscape photography is entwined with the creation of the National Park System and the birth of our environmental consciousness, to a connection that responds so quickly. This results in me being invited to Washington, D.C. to meet the Director of the National Park Foundation, John Bryant, and further elaborate upon the idea. We have a GREAT meeting and he likes my proposal. John wants to assemble the large, comprehensive exhibit I have suggested, but he knows it will be expensive, so he asks me to create a “mini-exhibit” to present to the NPF Board of Trustees at their spring board meeting. If I can do that, he promises that he will find me a “venue.” I select 1-image from each of 12 photographers, spanning the photographic history of the American landscape from the 1850’s to present day. I carry them to DC for the April meeting, arriving a week early to prep them for exhibit, at which point John informs me that my “venue” is to be the foyer of The White House, and this will be the first photographic exhibition ever held there in history. Secretary of the Interior, Cecil Andrus, has invited the NPF board to “tea” and to view the spring gardens, and as they pass through the foyer upon arrival, my 12-prints will be displayed on 4-sided “columns” that have been constructed and will be installed. We cannot actually hang pictures temporarily on the historical walls of the White House. That is all fine, EXCEPT, nothing can be done until the actual morning of the event! Early that day, in work clothes, I show up to put the 12-pictures on the display cubes, but the prefab wood resists my screws. I am panicking, as is John, so thank god for the Marines, two of whom show up (in full dress uniform) with serious tools. We are putting the last image in place when Secretary Andrus arrives. With the rest of the guests soon to follow, I run into one of the largest and most beautiful bathrooms I have ever entered, to change clothes. It is a 90˙ day and REALLY humid, so I am sweat-soaked. In the White House guest bathroom, I strip down, do a wet-towel bath, put the above suit on, and re-emerge as the curator of the exhibit. A lovely day was had by all, and John Bolton, EAT YOUR HEART OUT, your's is sniveling by comparison - LOL!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, May 18, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #98:
Daze, #98:  Of the many curatorial projects I cultivate when I am in Los Angeles and not on-the-road, one rather unexpectedly takes shape in late 1978. Upon graduating from the master's program at CalArts, I met Sharon Disney and her husband, Bill Lund, and they became supporters of my work, actually inviting me to visit their ranch in Wyoming, where I began my explorations of the Wind River Range. As we have remained friends, we frequently socialize, and over the years since CalArts, Bill has been invited to join the Board of Trustees of the National Park Foundation. As it so happens, one of my curatorial ideas involves the evolution of American landscape photography which I see as interlinked with the creation of our National Park System, and the birth of the American environmental consciousness. At a lunch one afternoon, I tell Bill of the idea, and suggest such an exhibit would be publicly popular, proving of benefit to NPF. Some months later, Bill calls me and says if I can explain how we might proceed with my idea, and project some basic costs, I should fly to DC to meet John Bryant, Director of the NPF, as he is interested. I do, and he is. He also realizes my idea is going to be EXPENSIVE to manifest, so he suggests we should do a “mini-exhibit” for the NPF Board of Trustees, to get them on board with the idea, AND he tells me he will find a place to have such a show in the spring, when the trustees hold their board meeting. He did!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, May 11, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #97:
Daze, #97:  When I am in LA, I use visiting Three Rivers and skiing in Sequoia National Park to keep myself in shape for larger winter adventures that I plan in several states. My time spent in Montana at Big Mountain and Glacier National Park has produced images that will be printed for the portfolio “WINTERS: 1970-1980,” and numerous stories for POWDER magazine. Skiing expeditions with the DFC&FC in Sun Valley are similarly productive, as suggested by post #73, and last week’s, #96. Summers have taken my partner, Vicki Golden, and I into the Wind River Range backpacking, and now, as our winter skills grow, I consider whether a winter trip could be staged in those mountains. If you follow this blog, you will know, to that end, Vicki and I took a winter road trip that ended in Pinedale, Wyoming, a small town at the foot of the Wind Rivers (posts #74-#81). We traveled there to meet with the Skinner brothers, three sons of a local ranch family, all of whom grew up in the area and skied. We hoped they might help us create a a ski story for POWDER, skiing into the range. They suggest their oldest brother's 50th birthday is coming, and we should celebrate by summiting a particular peak. I knew the summit and thought it a great idea, so planning was initiated. The Wind Rivers are hard to even REACH in the winter because there are few access roads, so this is truly going to be an expedition. Vicki and I return to LA, and the Skinners begin making their plans and assembling a large crew of skiers and camp assistants. I am in touch with the Skinners weekly, and when the conditions are right, and the call comes, I fly from LA to Jackson Hole, arriving finally in Pinedale. Vicki opts out of this trip as she feels it is out of her league, so this is a “boys only” adventure, and THIS is what such an adventure looks like in the early staging. Using snowmobiles, ranching friends of the Skinners will take us many miles across ranch land to a drop. From their, EACH OF US will have a backpack (as you see here), AND we will be towing a sled, all the while climbing 3,000ft through difficult terrain, so we can ultimately ski off an 11,000ft summit. If that sounds like your kind of fun, you can follow the entire story as it will eventually be part of this blog that posts on Thursdays.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, May 4, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #96:
Daze, #96:  My winter adventuring in Glacier National Park not only provides some significant images for my growing portfolio of work, “WINTERS: 1970-1980,” but pictures from Big Mountain also become a sizable feature in POWDER magazine, and it raises the bar for further winter adventuring. With my DFC&FC colleagues, we create two trips into the mountains around Sun Valley, that also feed my portfolio and become stories for POWDER. The first is a multi-day ski trip into Boulder Basin, an abandoned mining town in the Boulder Mountains (post#73), and the second, a helicopter supported, multi-day skiing, free-for-all beneath Cobb and Old Hyndman, two of the most significant summits in the Pioneer range (above). For that, quite an entourage is airlifted to a high basin, just before a wicked cold snap hits, causing the temps to dip to -20˙. We build a TRULY GREAT snow cave complex, and party on. After three days, the cold snap breaks, and as temperatures warm, our crew has emerged for the day and is getting ready to do some more skiing about. Mila is doing a little warm-up yoga, proudly displaying the t-shirt of my sponsor, Pure & Simple (organic snacks). Moving left to right, Gordon Williams, Vicki Golden, Chris DuPont, and Jennifer look on. To the immediate right is our kitchen “bench.” To the immediate left is a GREAT place to play! This story, and the one about the trip into Boulder Basin will post in my blog “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get” in the coming months.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, April 27, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #95:
Daze, #95:  My master printer, Michael Wilder, and I are visiting Three Rivers and Sequoia National Park, while staying in a client’s nearby home. Winter has brought snow to the higher elevations, and we spend time cross-country skiing amongst the groves of giant trees. Michael also wants to explore part of a “trail” that he will be using for a multi-day, trans-Sierra, winter ski and camp, and since it comes through Sequoia, we pick it up there and follow it to terrain well above the big forest. Michael’s route will go around this ice waterfall, ascending the valley behind the large, solitary tree, and eventually arriving at a mountain hut. For now, however, this day is relatively warm, and while we are standing here, some big pieces of ice fall from the rocks, so we are definitely NOT going any farther today. Michael does return and complete the trans-Sierra traverse safely, however .
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, April 20, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #94:
Daze, #94:  The end of the 70’s is a VERY busy time for me, as you know if you follow this blog. The discovery and development of the Paul Outerbridge collection (posts #50 & #88), and the huge exhibit in cooperation with Security Pacific Bank (post #86), bring other opportunities and inspire curatorial projects of my own. I survive traveling around the world with Elisabeth Mann Borgese, researching and photographing aquaculture, and return to my studio in LA to do a massive edit of 2,200 images that need to go to Harry N. Abrams in New York. Galleries are selling my prints, keeping my master printer, Michael Wilder and me busy making them. I have also built a very nice B&W darkroom in my family home and have begun to print the images that will become the portfolio, “WINTERS: 1970-1980”. Occasionally, a distant winter trip gets planned to further those images, but much closer to home, I am spending time in “winter” by visiting my clients home in 3 Rivers and tour skiing amongst the groves and big trees of Sequoia National Park. Michael Wilder and I have become close friends, not only because we are working together, but he also enjoys the outdoors, backpacks, and cross-country skis. So, I bring Michael along on one of my visits to 3 Rivers because he is going to do a trans-Sierra, multi-day, winter camp and cross-country ski, and the planned route begins in Sequoia, which we intend to explore. I have not previously skied above the big tree groves, so when we reach this point, I am VERY impressed.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, April 13, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #93:
Daze, #93:  I want to remind readers that this proposed trip around-the-world to research and photograph seafarming is taking place in 1977. Thanks to corporate support (post #92) 1, I now have state-of-the-art equipment and I spend days artfully carving foam pockets in my Pelican case in which I will carry it all. One Nikon camera body w/lens will always be “out." I am shooting film and must consider ALL the rolls I will need, as I am told film quality in stores for most of the trip is unreliable because of it being affected by the heat. I contrive a canvas shoulder bag to do double-duty. I line it with layers of foam and aluminum, and in transit it will carry 150 rolls of film at a relatively stabile temperature. All film is also packaged in baggies to lock out humidity exposure. I have 50 rolls of Kodachrome, and 100 rolls of Ektachrome. In the field, the insulated tote will be my camera /film shoulder bag. For a trip like this, all of my backpacking skills have come into play to keep me organized, and contained within a minimal amount of bags to manage. Amazingly, I get two months of clothing into one large rolling suitcase because it will only be cold in Zurich and Moscow, the first two stops, then it will likely be VERY hot everywhere else we go after that. Along the way we will simply have the hotels wash our clothes. One good dinner jacket will cover fancy occasions and give me some cold protection, the rest of the time we are in “field-wear.” Elisabeth is an extremely experienced world traveler, and her agent deals with the complexity of invitations, travel plans, and endless visa paperwork for both of us, but I must get 11 vaccinations because of high-risk health concerns in many of the countries we will visit. All things accomplished, there are hugs and well wishes all around, and my parents see me off. I spend two nights at Elisabeth’s in Zurich and then we fly overnight to Moscow. It is winter. It is dawn. It is weird. It is cold. This IS the Cold War! Fortunately, we are greeted by a gaggle of dignitaries and as a consequence there is little customs inspection of my gear. We are treated to an official car with our hosts, and off to a hotel. They know I have come to take pictures, so when I ask if I can, I am told I can, IF I am “discreet.” This going to be an interesting trip, as these last three posts suggest, and "FISHFARMS: Forming My World View through Aquaculture in 1977,” will soon be a new blog.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, April 6, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #92:
Daze, #92:  Elisabeth Mann Borgese, a respected author, international politician, and environmentalist, is going to write a book about AQUACULTURE - seafarming. It will be published by Harry N. Abrams, one of the world’s premier book publishers, and she would like me to take pictures for the book while we travel together visiting 7 other countries around the world. One of the things I promised myself, when I chose a photographic career, was that I would use it to see the world. Who knew that might happen so soon. I am VERY EXCITED by the offer and can hardly wait to tell friends and family. Strangely, every single photographer in my community that I tell, asks why I would take such a “commercial” job, and warns me that it will “ruin” my emerging credibility as an “artist.” I also expect to impress my parents because I will not only travel widely but I am being decently paid. However, in a similarly weird reaction, my mother expresses fear for me as she see my offer as “dangerous," and my father ask why I would “risk" going to such countries, especially when I am just getting established at home. He also suggests, I have no experience with such worldly travel and I will not know how to manage it. WTF!!! Not ONE show of support,..well, EXCEPT for the manufacturers. I wanted state-of-the-art equipment for this trip, so I began writing a LOT of letters, trading on my reputation from images published by the Sierra Club and POWDER magazine. Long story, short: Nikon sent me two Nikon-F’s with motor drives and an array of eight lenses; Vivitar sent me their newest bounce-flash strobe; Olympus had just introduced the first truly tiny 35mm, and they sent me one of those with a compliment of lenses; and Pelican sent me a waterproof, dustproof, locking aluminum case to put all my new toys in. Prepping for travel, I have all the gear laid out on the dining room table at my family home, when my father sees it for the first time. His response, “Holy S#&$!” signals to me he finally realizes, not only am I going to do this trip, but IT IS A BIG DEAL!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, March 30, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #91:
Daze, #91:  The end of the 70’s and the early 80’s is one of the busiest times of my life because I have so many different projects ongoing. The success of the Paul Outerbridge project and my other curatorial/organizational efforts, gets me elected Executive Director of the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies. In that position, I begin work on the Security Pacific Bank exhibit proposal (post #86); an effort to revive the work of famous Harlem photographer, James Van Der Zee; and an interesting research idea that I have been pursuing about the history of American landscape photographers and how it is entwined with the National Park system. As if that were not enough, please recall that in post #82, I introduced you to Elisabeth Mann Borgese, who, among many titles, is the Director of the International Ocean Institute in Malta. Elisabeth met me, because my high school-surfing buddy, Sam Scranton, now manages her home, and she saw me often while I was attending Brooks Institute. She has also seen my photography and likes it. Now she is hoping to publish a book with Harry N. Abrams (one of the most significant publishing houses in the world) about seafarming, which she believes is important to the future of the “world food economy,” and she wants me to be the photographer. When I explain that I am not really “journalistic” enough, and do not shoot many people, she responds that they have those pictures already from various project scientists, but what Abrams needs is pictures that describe “the place,” and that will make clear India’s fish farming environment is different from that of Thailand, etc. I can do that! BESIDES, I am just turning 30, and I have never been anywhere but England and France. This trip will take me to Russia, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, and end in Hawaii. I am going to travel round the world for TWO months in the company of Thomas Mann’s daughter taking pictures, collecting research, and doing interviews - should I do it?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, March 23, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #90:
Daze, #90:  My 35mm black & white work seems to be coalescing around the thematic idea of “winter," and the additional color images I am generating are getting published in magazines, and an occasional book. My color 4x5 view camera images also find their way into publications, in particular, the very nicely printed Sierra Club Calendars. I am glad to have the exposure, but aside from the commerce of it, I am not interested in making pictures that define a “pretty" landscape. What I AM attracted to is how the larger camera renders infinite detail, and that the film can be printed in larger sizes. Much like the contemporary photographers, Andreas Gursky, and Edward Burtynsky, part of my fascination/love of the view camera is its ability to record “everything.” Thus, much of my work in that direction embraces the most busy and complex subjects I can find, and I just “stuff” the frame with bits and pieces of endless detail. Most of these images are non-starters commercially, because I am told, “they are not about anything," but as color prints, they are beautifully different. Another technical aspect of Cibachrome that Michael Wilder and I try to address is the fact that the paper is VERY contrasty, so subjects with an already large contrast range are hard to print. Michael is a darkroom genius, though, and long before Adobe exists, Michael develops a way to control Cibachrome print contrast by using panchromatic film masking. His technique is such a success he advises Ilford, who owns and distributes the paper. Many of my prints showcase the technique by using subject matter that challenge the problem, such as post #45 (one of the first prints to which we applied it), and the above (also Big Sur).
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, March 16, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #89:
Daze, #89:  Along with all of the projects and events in Los Angeles, there is another important aspect to being here - it gives me time to work with my master printer, Michael Wilder, and to fine tune what I have learned about color from my exchanges with Eliot Porter. If you follow this blog, you will know that I first met Michael when I was looking to print post #41, on the new (at that time) color material, Cibachrome. We are both attracted to the archival quality of the color dyes, and the vibrant rendering of the primary color scale. Cibachrome, however, is a “raw" material that needs technical darkroom work to bring out the full range of the print. Through the 70’s, Michael and I spend a great deal of time in his darkroom in Venice developing those adjustments. Many viewers of my prints ask if I have “done something” to create the saturated color. Certainly Wilder and I print to bring the most out of any image using what the marriage of print and film offer, but Eliot Porter taught me that “saturation” of color occurs first in the field, you just have to see and understand it. Most people are surprised that some of the best conditions for COLOR photography are in the bright overcast, and during a rain. Both of those conditions are true for post #43, and the image from Big Sur, above.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, March 9, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #88:
Daze, #88:  Nearly a decade of research covering a variety of curatorial subjects, culminates in some busy years during the late 70’s and early 80’s. Although I am doing a god bit of traveling trying to build my own portfolio, when I am in LA, there are many “events” connected to these projects, so my partner, Vicki Golden, and I, are up to our ears in exhibit and catalog design, and gallery installations. As you saw in post #50 & #86, the Outerbridge discovery/exhibit, and the Security Pacific Bank “summary-of-the-decade” exhibit, both had VERY nice catalogs. They also had GREAT openings. The reception the bank hosted was opulent, with fantastic food, and a large crowd, due in part to so many artists participating. The Outerbridge exhibit was a different story. Eventually hailed as “one of the great discoveries in the history of photography,” when I take the exhibit proposal to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among MANY, I am greeted with complete disinterest and dismissal. With no LA public institution willing to exhibit the assembled, NEA-funded collection, Vicki turns to the recently opened G. Ray Hawkins gallery, where she is working, and convinces G. Ray to put the exhibit up for publicity reasons, as there are no prints to sell, as yet. The opening reception is discreet by comparison to the one at the bank, but it IS a who’s-who of curators, critics, and publishers. I thought you might enjoy this “stylish” image: Outerbridge prints hang on the wall behind (left to right) G. Ray Hawkins, Lois Outerbridge, yours truly, and Vicki Golden. Vicki has me especially buffed out for the evening with a haircut by Lynn LaPorte - “stylist to the stars,” and a green, corduroy, Pierre Cardin 3-piece suit - pants and vest, light “ice” green, jacket, dark forest green.., and the tie! Vicki is looking quite glamorous as well. I love the hat. Party on, Garth! Now where is that Cherie Chung?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, March 2, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #87:
Daze, #87:  Much of what I am doing in LA comes in waves of work, centered around projects and events. In between, I have the time to pursue my personal photography in a variety of VERY different places, relatively easy to reach. Limekiln Creek on the Big Sur coast, and the location in the desert where I am creating the portfolio, “Stoned Immaculate” are about a 5-hour drive away, and Joshua Tree National Park, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, are about 3-1/2hrs. A trip to Sequoia, however, offers the lovely home in Three Rivers, the diversity of the immediate environment, AND when it is snowing, it feeds into the imagery I am trying to create that will become the portfolio, “WINTERS: 1970-1980.”  Best of all, my van is so tricked-out for winter conditions, I can summit the road into the park in the worst of weather when police close it to most, and as a consequence, my friends and I often ski all day among these trees entirely by ourselves. Over time, many colleagues join me to adventure here, and, of course, some of that finds its way into the pages of POWDER magazine.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, February 23, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #86:
Daze, #86: Back in Los Angeles, my curatorial work on behalf of the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies takes a quantum leap following the success of the Paul Outerbridge Collection, which I discovered and helped to develop (post #50). I definitely enjoy the way curatorial research introduces me to both historic and contemporary work, weaving their connection together more clearly. Because of my visibility from the Outerbridge project, I am approached to consider others, AND I begin to develop a few ideas of my own. The first effort to come to fruition is complex, and a great exercise in being organized, a skill that would help me in the future. Security Pacific Bank is, at the time, one of the largest in the city, and they occupy a corporate tower in downtown Los Angeles that has an expansive lobby area in which they host exhibits. Tressa Miller Freehling coordinates their cultural events, and learning of my work at LACPS, approaches me to do a “comprehensive” exhibit of the diverse LA photography scene during the decade of the 70’s, which has been especially experimental and non-traditional. As it turns out Robbert Flick, a significant photographer in his own right, and a teacher at USC, is planning a similar exhibit. We know each other well through LACPS, so rather than compete, we work together, hosting a spectacular two-gallery array of images being made in LA over the past ten years. Security Pacific’s exhibit space is their corporate “lobby”, which is designed "open-plan” with movable walls, cubes, and very high ceilings, allowing their exhibit to accommodate large prints and photographic sculptures. There are 48 artists and over 110 prints in the show, and thanks to the largess of the bank, a complete catalog (shown above) in full color is also produced. In retrospect, I feel it is worth noting the artists in this exhibit, as much of the LA art-photography scene seems to have forgotten that these photographers are their roots, and they did some great work that changed photography. The artists included in this exhibit are: Lewis Baltz; Bruce Barnbaum; Laurie Brown; Jack Butler; Jo Ann Callis; Eileen Cowin; Darryl Curran; Avery Danziger; Lou Brown Di Giulio; John Divola; Mary Lloyd Estrin; Jim Farber; Robbert Flick; Anthony Eaton Friedkin; Frank B. Gallagher; Jeff Gates; Judith Golden; Jennifer Griffiths; Raul Guerrero; Robert Heinecken; Anthony Hernandez; Douglas Hill; Suda House; Steve Kahn; Robert Glenn Ketchum; Bobby Kitchens; Gary Krueger; Victor Landweber; Kenneth McGowan; Jerry McMillan; Philip Melnick; Grant Mudford; Patrick; Nagatani; Jane O’Neal; Marion Palfi; Don Peterson; Ave Pildas; Sheila Pinkel; Herb Quick; Susan Rankaitis; Susan Ressler; Leland Rice; Sherie Scheer; Edmund Teske; Karen Truax; Carol Vitz; and, Max Yavno. If you think Cindy Sherman and Stephen Shore are So amazing, and you live in LA, you seriously need to know more about the artists in this show.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, February 16, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #85:
Daze, #85: The home in Three Rivers offered to me by my clients, is situated on a boulder-strewn shoreline of the east fork of the Kaweah River, as it tumbles out of the steepening canyons and snowpack above it in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. Three Rivers is a destination unto itself, but for my friends and I, it is a launching pad for a whole host of activities. Shortly after passing through Three Rivers, you enter the park and the road begins to climb. For awhile, the drive offers views of the river valley dropping ever farther below, but then it turns steeply upward, into a LONG series of switchbacks that is probably one of the most twisting and changing drives in all of North America. At the start, Three Rivers and the Kaweah might have offered sunshine or rain on meadows of wildflowers surrounded by oak and sycamore woodlands. Up the road apiece, part way through the switchbacks, those meadows and oaks are now plunging down the steep walls below the rising road, and the drive enters evergreen forest. It may also mark the start of the snowline. Not much farther along, the evergreens give way to the sequoia forest and unimaginably large trees speckle the terrain. This is like NO OTHER forest in the world. These are the oldest living things on earth! A visit to Three Rivers offers all of these remarkable environments to explore.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, February 9, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #84:
Daze, #84: Lest Vicki and I allow LA to be all-work-and-no-play, we escape when we can for extended weekend trips that help us keep in shape for the longer, more physical road trips that we do. One of those locations is a particularly important “gift” from a new client. Acting as an art consultant buying work for corporate offices, Barbara George contacts me about purchasing prints. Barbara is the wife of Ronald M. George, who will become the 27th Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, and both he and she love my work and support my environmental purpose behind it. We become good friends after a time, and then the Georges make me an offer. With some other families, they have bought a riverside home in 3 Rivers, CA, which sits right at the foot of Sequoia National Park, several thousand feet above the valley. All the families think the area beautiful, and they also like my photography, so they have decided to offer me time at their home whenever it is not being used by them, in exchange for prints. I do not know much (yet) about 3-Rivers, but I know Sequoia has snow, so Vicki and I figure that at the very least we will get in some good cross-country skiing. If you have never been in a Sequoia grove, it is hard to explain how you can sense what aged, sentient beings the massive trees are, but it is spiritual, and yet the trees are not the only attraction of the park. Moro Rock (above) is visible for the valley floor and stands as a sentinel to the park. It is MUCH bigger than you may think from this picture, so keep following this blog because eventually we will climb to the top for a view.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, February 2, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #83:
Daze, #83: At this time in LA, another change is taking place that touches my work. My father owns Charles W. Carter Company, an industrial site in downtown Los Angeles. Carter Co. is an industrial automotive wholesaler, the largest west of the Rockies, and the LA facility consists of a huge parts warehouse and a service yard with drive-in, open-pit service sheds for 18-wheel trucks, also the largest such facility in the west. Carter Co. has other locations as well, notably Honolulu, as they were VERY active rebuilding the Pacific Fleet after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but as they expanded to other locations, they did little to update the home offices in LA, and my father thought that time had finally arrived. A good bit of interior redesign is done, and the accounting department buys the company’s first computer to track inventory, a massive thing that requires its own air-conditioned room. Being as industrial as they are, no one has ever considered “art” on the walls, but my father has seen the positive response by the public to my color prints, and he thinks maybe I can find the trucking service industry interesting enough to make a few pictures that might be displayed in the “new” office spaces. I have worked many summers at both Carter Co. LA and Hawaii, and I know what to expect, so it seems to me like a good idea because I know there is a lot of color and graphic details involved. I also decide I will use my view camera for some of the shots, so we can make much larger prints, and as the project evolves, I throw in some B & W as well. The story of this work and other industrial imagery I pursue throughout my career is going to become my new blog on Friday afternoon, and although the subject is quite different from my work in the natural world, I think you might still find the imagery interesting so check into “Notations from the Industrial Wilderness - My Fascination with the Graphics of Industry” once in awhile, and see what you think.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, January 26, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #82:
Daze, #82: Vicki Golden is a very good organizational person, hence her success working with Hollywood productions, but those skills also feeds our relationship. Her attention to detail and personal responsibility makes her a great road warrior/backpacking partner, and working with her allows us to manage many projects in LA, even though we are frequently on the road. Upon our return to LA from the most recent winter road trip, MANY things are in play that keep us REALLY busy, and new opportunities appear, that will change our lives. As you know if you follow this blog, I attended Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, and while there I surfed and hung-out with my high school friend, Sam Scranton. In post 33, I also point out that Sam manages the household of Elisabeth Mann Borgese, daughter of Thomas Mann, Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, and Director of the International Ocean Institute in Malta ( https://www.ioinst.org ), where she has authored a proposed Law of the Sea Treaty. Not surprisingly, I hear from Sam when I return to LA, but besides an invitation to come up and surf, he informs me that Elisabeth has a project, and she wonders if I would like to work on it with her and take some pictures. It sounds good, so I am off to Santa Barbara to hear what Elisabeth wants to do. That is she as we sit in her living room talking. The project? She wants to do a large volume picture book about world-wide aquaculture, and Harry N. Abrams, one of the most prestigious publishing companies in the world has agreed to publish it. To complete her commitment, she must now collect current research information and pictures of locations, so we would travel together for about six weeks to Russia, India, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Japan, and the state of Hawaii. (Keep in perspective, it is 1977.) She wonders if I am interested and feel “up to the task ?” What do you think?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, January 19, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #81:
Daze, #81: The Skinner bothers listen to my pitch about doing a winter camping trip into the Wind River Mountains of WY as a story for POWDER magazine, and they feel we could do one, but they want to be sure I am aware of what will be required. There are NO access roads into the range that are plowed in the winter, therefore we will have about 15-20 miles to cover just crossing flatter, ranch terrain. They want to have a “work” group to support me and themselves in camp, and they offer to bring in some experienced college “kids” who assist them in the summer with their outdoor education school. They also want the trip to have a specific purpose and destination, so it is decided that for brother, Monty’s 5oth birthday, we will summit Bald Mountain, a sizable peak in the heart of the range. I am also told that to gain access to the range, we will be “packed in” to the foothills, by ranching friends with snowmobiles. This is as much as I might have hoped for, so Vicki and I leave our breakfast with the Skinner brothers excited that a winter expedition can be accomplished. We spend the rest of the day and night in Pinedale, and the wind continues to howl. It subsidies before down, though, and we head back to California on a bright, cold, crystal-clear day. Interestingly, as soon as we leave the flatness of the high plains around Pinedale, and enter a more hill-and-valley environment, we see this EVERYWHERE! The cornices have been built by the winds of the previous day. The warmth of the sun is causing pieces to fall onto the slopes below. The deep loose powder, covered by hardened wind crust fractures, causing an avalanche DOWN TO BEDROCK on a slope that is not even very steep. Vicki looks over at me and says, “It looks like it will be an interesting skiing adventure. I may pass!"
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Friday, January 12, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #80:
Daze, #80: The intense snowfall lasts about 1/2-hour and then abates, so Vicki and I return to the van and continue toward Pinedale on a highway deep in powder. As we get closer to town, we are greeted by a line of snowplows going the other way, so we know we will have refuge from the storm, soon. Pinedale is blanketed, but digging out, and businesses are generally operating as usual, so we have lodging, food, and, most importantly, a phone. It is clear that we are not going to do much “exploring” of the Wind Rivers until access is plowed, but we can contact the Skinner brothers and talk with them about the skiing expedition I am hoping to create. They ARE home, and have been waiting to hear from us, but suggest we meet them at a local restaurant, as there is so much snow they say we probably cannot get to their ranch. There are three Skinner brothers, Courtney, Monty, and Oly, and they have ranched in Pinedale all their lives. They also do pack trips for hunters, and occasionally they guide hiking trips for groups. They are involved as outdoor education instructors for local kids, as well, and they have done stints as ski patrol in nearby ski areas. We meet the morning after the storm, while a severe wind is rising, blowing the fallen snow into deep drifts, and building cornices along ridgelines. These are not exactly inviting conditions in which to have a discussion about a winter camping expedition into some of the tallest mountains on the Continental Divide.
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Friday, January 5, 2018

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #79:
Daze, #79: For awhile the falling snow is driven by a howling wind, but the bluster seems to abate when we leave the Hoback canyon and river valley and begin to gradually ascend into the high plains around Pinedale. At another point along the road, we find a plowed-out area, and pull over to watch again. Where we are now, the wind has completely stopped, and the snowflakes have grown in size. Just as we decide to get out of the van, the snowfall actually INCREASES and becomes even heavier than it has been. It seems impossible because it has been snowing SO hard our entire drive, but clearly there has been a sudden, and visible, increase in the snowfall intensity, and it is now piling up on us so fast, I need an umbrella to take this shot. This image, “Snowfall,” is another to be included in my to-be-published portfolio, WINTERS: 1970-1980,” and, very importantly for me, it is also the FIRST image that my colleagues in the Chinese embroidery guild chose to render. The success of that small, 2-sided embroidery began an international exchange project that continued for 30yrs.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018 
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Friday, December 29, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #78:
Daze, #78: Vicki Golden and I have now spent several summers backpacking in the Wind River mountains, south of Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons, where we are now winter camping in my van. Our road trip pursues two objectives: I have a growing body of B&W imagery that regards “winter;” and, I am trying to generate some stories for POWDER magazine about backcountry skiing in interesting places. So far on our journey, Utah and Idaho have proven very productive for both purposes, and last night, here at the foot of the Tetons, makes me hopeful Wyoming will be also. We expect to drive south to Pinedale today to meet an adventurous family that lives in the area, the Skinner brothers, and discuss a possible winter trip into the Wind Rivers. First, however, we must deal with what has followed last night’s stunning sunset,..2ft. of new snow, and more coming down every minute. We eat quickly as I warm the motor and the cabin, then I brush the van clear and we launch. This vehicle has been rigged for these conditions, so now we will see. The road from Grand Teton National Park to Jackson Hole has been plowed recently, so it is not too bad, but below Jackson, things really change. This part of the highway has NOT been plowed in awhile, and it is REALLY snowing in the Hoback Valley. Vicki and I are the only ones out here, and we are in awe of what we see. “Hard, Driven Snow,” became part of my published portfolio, “WINTERS: 1970-1980,”  but it barely comprehends what is unfolding before us. Ansel Adams never made a picture like this with a view camera, but in retrospect, I was I had an iPhone and made a video recording. You could HEAR the snow falling!!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, December 22, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #77:
Daze, #77: For what seems like an endless amount of time, the colors of the blazing sky reflect off of the summits and the snow floor, so the whole park is bathed in amazing hues of red, then purple, and finally luminous blue. We hardly utter a word to each other, but our mouths our open. We do succeed in polishing off a bottle of Grand Marnier along with the day, and now that the show is ending, we begin a retreat to the warmth of the van. As I climb down from the roof, however, the “aftershow” catches my attention. The flashy part of this sunset has passed, but there is a twilight lingering on that is equally beautiful. The subtle gradations of color I now see are the opposite of the fireworks we just watched. What I do not yet know at this moment is that this would be the last view of the sky, or anything very distant, that we would have for the next several days.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, December 15, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #76:
Daze, #76: Food in our stomachs, libations in our hands, bodies swaddled in layers and layers of wool and down, Vicki and I grab our sling chairs and climb on to the van roof. Although weather is definitely coming in, it is not windy tonight as it was last night, and the exposure of the roof is quite comfortable. Most importantly, it affords us a beautiful view of all the summits in the Teton Range, which at this moment have become cloud-piercing. For awhile it appears we might not have a sunset to watch, then the sun finds some point in the west that is clear, and it gets UNDER the clouds above us to light them up. It starts somewhat like a fire. At first, there is just a little glow, but over many minutes it gets more colorful and dramatic, and then it just blows up. What initially is a spectacle around the peaks, suddenly spreads across the entire landscape of the park, and lights everything up.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, December 8, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #75:
Daze, #75: Sometime during the night, the wind backs off, and the next day dawns sunny with very high cirrus clouds. We eat a great breakfast standing in the warmth of the sunlight, and then we gear-up and go skiing. For some miles, snowmobile tracks make for perfect conditions to stride and glide, and wonderfully, there do not seem to be any snowmobilers around today, so we ski in relative quiet, except for the squawk of an occasional bird. We are not going anywhere in particular, we are just trying to get close to the major peaks in the range and gain a little altitude. Not long after leaving tracked terrain, we push up through untouched snow, onto a sunny plateau with a great view, so it becomes our lunch break. A few clouds appear, but the weather holds and the sun remains, so we take our time enjoying the solitude, and then start a really fun ski back DOWN to the parking area and the van. It appears we are going to have a windless night, with snow perhaps coming the next day, but for now dinner is very comfortable, and as it turns out, we are going to enjoy a STUNNING sunset while sitting in our sling chairs on the roof.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, December 1, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #74:
Daze, #74: Craters of the Moon National Monument lies south and east of the Wood River Valley, on the exposed Snake River plains of eastern, Idaho. The monument hosts several volcanic cinder cones, and A LOT of lava flow and rubble, all of which lie openly exposed to the elements, wind in particular. I hunted birds here with my father in the past and the terrain and environment are extremely demanding. Craters does get snow, and it has enough to make a few landscape pictures, just not enough to ski on without tearing our skis up. It is also REALLY wind and brutally cold, so after a short visit, we roll on, headed for Wyoming. With the sun starting to set we arrive at the entrance to Grand Teton National Park, where a large “plow out” has been created so people can park vehicles, while they ski or snowmobile. It remains VERY windy here, as it was back at Craters, so Vicki and I want to tuck in for the night, and hope things calm down by morning. There is about 5ft. of snow on the ground, with mounds around the plowing, slightly higher. We find one, in particular, that is about as tall as the van, providing a good wind screen, so we set up for the night. This is our “tuck-in.” With the skis already down from the rack and ready to go, we will sit on the roof tonight to watch the sunset. My van has no facilities, so this is how we cook meals every night. I have created a ledge in the snow, opposite my open van doors, and our 3-burner Coleman stove sits there with the post and pans. Our water is in the orange pour-can, and our fresh food is in a cooler, inside. Vicki sits in the captain’s chair, handing me stuff, and managing the music and libations. Up on that snow plain, the wind is screaming and cold. Down in our niche, we are toasty and toasted!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, November 24, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #73:
Daze, #73: Our day of product endorsement photographs (post #72) is quite intentionally staged in the Boulder Mountains, as Gordon and I also want to check the snow conditions prior to our intended backcountry skiing trip into the old mine camp in Boulder Basin. Things look very good and weather forecasts are cooperating, so in the ensuing hours, we round up other DFC&FC friends, collect our gear and head out for a great multi-day adventure of skiing into, and around the basin, concluding with a fantastic, hours-long downhill ski out. The tour becomes a story in POWDER magazine, and it adds several new images to my growing body of B&W work, to eventually be published as the portfolio, “Winters: 1970-1980.” This is Mark Sheehan on a long glide line, the morning we started to ski out. My partner, Vicki Golden, is on this trip as well, as she has been part of this extended winter road tour since it left LA. After our tour of Boulder Basin, we spend a few days in Sun Valley “recovering” from our trip, and then she and I move on because I have planned to shoot other locations. We intend to head for Wyoming, the Tetons, and the Wind Rivers, where we have been backpacking, but first I thought it might be interesting to try and ski Craters of the Moon National Monument.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, November 17, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #72:
Daze, #72: In the morning, my Dodge van once again performs admirably and starts up, but the day is not getting any warmer than the past two, which were brutally cold, so Vicki and I decide to continue on our road trip. The next stop involves a short stay at the Cliff Lodge in Snowbird, Utah. Although, the resort is a GREAT ski destination, I am not going there for that reason. We are stopping by to install a display of my prints, and participate in a reception. Owners of the Cliff Lodge, saw my work displayed in Sun Valley and on the pages in POWDER magazine, and thought my subject matter would appeal to their high-season winter audience. As Vicki and I get closer to Salt Lake City, the weather warms considerably, and clouds begin to push in from the west. By the time we arrive at Snowbird and the lodge, it is snowing lightly. The lodge, and our room, are spectacular - dramatic accommodations for lounge and dining include huge glass windows that look out at the steep slopes of the resort which are literally surrounding you; ski conditions have been excellent, so the resort is packed and everyone is excited because more snow - fresh powder - is coming; and, the dining is also excellent. The next day it snows on-and-off, and Vicki and I do the exhibit installation. After a great day for the skiers, my reception that night is packed with enthusiastic viewers, and as we close down the bar, post-reception, someone notes that it is REALLY starting to snow outside. When we come down for breakfast in the morning, the place is jammed with many impatient people, and THE WINDOWS HAVE BEEN SHUTTERED! We have had a massive snowfall (10ft+). The resort is closed for avalanche control, and the windows are shuttered because the hotel could be hit. Around 10:30, the all-clear is given, and throngs of eager skiers, rush to the lift lines to be the first to put tracks in deep, untouched powder. Vicki and I plan to drive on to Sun Valley and meet friends, but when we head to the parking lot to dig our car out, Vicki says to me in a panicked voice, “Bobbie, they have towed the van!” We are standing on the high porch of Cliff Lodge looking out over an empty parking lot, and then I realize, it is NOT empty, nothing has been towed - EVERYTHING IS BURIED! We are not going anywhere until they can plow the parking lot. We finally depart around 4pm, arriving late in Sun Valley to dine with our friends. With colleagues in the DFC&FC, we are going to do a ski tour into the Boulder Mountains, north of Sun Valley, that I hope to get published in POWDER magazine. There is also another task I must perform. My alliance with POWDER has brought me sponsors. Some are ski equipment manufacturers, another is the newly founded Pure & Simple organic foods. In this unapologetically terrible promotional shot, stylish DFC&FC member, Gordon Williams, tolerates the lame, “I-am-eating-these-snacks-can-you-see-the-label-clearly?” pose, and some fancy Fischer cross-country skis creep in from the side of the frame. (Those ARE the Boulder Mountains in the background.)
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, November 10, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #71:
Daze, #71: My camera bodies are too cold to touch with bare skin, and the aluminum tripod is like holding an icicle, but we are off (no kidding!). Having watched where the moon would rise from the rim the night before, I scouted a point during our day of skiing that I thought we might reach in the dark without too much effort or danger. With the snow floor, the night is bight enough to ski without headlamps, so Vicki and I have the unique experience of striding, gliding, and squeaking across this landscape in complete winter solitude - well, we could hear coyotes - LOL! In case you are wondering, my cameras are Nikon F’s, and to keep them functional in this kind of intense cold, until I am ready to shoot, I take the batteries out of the camera and put them in my warmest pocket. I also carry several sets. Cold as it is, now -16˚, we are warm from our tipsy ski, and my equipment is working, so I get set up and greet the full moon rise. How amazing our technology advances are though, back in the day of taking this (mid-70’s), this was a good technical shot (POWDER published it.) In the new tech of cameras, this shot would now have full detail in the moon, a sky full of stars, and you would see every branch of every tree on the DISTANT plateau. As it is this night, I do the best I can with what I have, and then we flee back to the warmth of the van and the rest of the Grand Marnier. You might not imagine it so, but it is great fun to sit in our sleeping bags in the swiveling captains chairs listening to great music, and passing the bottle and other snacks, back and forth, while watching our breath form tiny floating crystals in the air of the van.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, November 3, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #70:
Daze, #70: After lunch in a toasty van, we leave the upper rim road of Bryce Canyon National Park, seeking a skiable approach to the park interior from a lower elevation. Because cold air sinks, it does NOT get any warmer even though we have moved to a lower elevation, but there is descent snow cover, and the sun is shining brightly, so we go out and wander through these valleys and rolling hills topped by drip-castle spires. There is some fun skiing to be had, and it IS strangely beautiful, but it is also stunningly cold, and barely gets to 10˚ at the warmest point of the day. By late afternoon, we are tired and thoroughly cold, so once again we retreat to the van to dine, DRINK, and ponder. While pondering, Vicki and I do some considerable damage to a bottle of Grand Marnier, and so we start to feel warmer, and perhaps stupidly, more adventurous. Now that it is getting dark, we also know that something is about to happen that should be a good photo-op for any story in which POWDER magazine might have interest, SO, we stuff ourselves back into our layers and break out the skis once again. We are going to take a short moonlight tour. Oh, did I mention, there is no moon yet, but when it rises it will be full!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, October 27, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #69:
Daze, #69: After a brisk -12 night in the van, currently parked on the rim road of Bryce Canyon National Park, Vicki and I awake, and wearing enough down that we both look like the Michelin Man, we walk to the canyon overlook to watch the sun rise on the spire-like towers. There is plenty of snow where we are, and there is snow on the floor of the canyon as well, but it is far too icy to get from here to there. From our vantage, the trails and narrow passages plunge down very steeply, and in many places show evidence of small avalanches. A truly great skier might manage a descent after an epic snowfall, but that is NOT happening today. We decide to eat, and ski about the rim for awhile, then we will drive on to the lower reaches of the park and enter the valley floor from there. After a long, slow breakfast, and a lot of standing around in the direct sun, we finally warm-up, shed some clothes, and break out the skis (post #57). The super-cold, causes super-clear conditions, and a glorious sunny day to ski-stroll about the rim, taking in various viewpoints. Bryce is unusual geology, so different it has been protected as a national park, BUT with snow on it, it seems even stranger - like icing on a cake of spires. By noon, we are cold and hungry once again, so back to the van, which is sitting with the hood open and sun beaming down on the engine block. Gotta love the old Dodge vans! With the first click of the key, the engine springs to life, I turn on the heater, and lunch is served in the captain’s chairs.
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Friday, October 20, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #68:
Daze, #68: As much as I am enjoying the summer backpacking with my friends, my work from those trips only becomes public through prints I exhibit. Few magazines seem interested in stories about a group of crazies wandering at alpine. Because I have already met POWDER magazine, and they DO want to work with me, that association fuels numerous ideas to generate stories, while accomplishing personal work simultaneously. Besides the rebuilding of Pioneer Cabin, POWDER also publishes my Big Mountain and Glacier National Park imagery, and so I design a winter-on-the-road, that I think will create a great amount of new material for both of us. My partner, Vicki Golden (posts #57 & 58), and I, rig the van for maximum warmth and head from LA to Zion National Park. The upper reaches of Zion can be skied when there is snow, but on our visit, there is not enough to do so, so we hike a bit and then move on. Later that day, at the start of a VERY cold evening, we arrive on the rim view road overlooking Bryce Canyon National Park. We are on a high plateau of 8,500ft +. It is clear night with the bottom falling out of the thermometer. We will go below zero before dawn. No surprise to us, we are the only ones here, so I park the van to get direct sun on the motor in the morning, and Vicki and I, bundle up for the night, and have dinner.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, October 13, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #67:
Daze, #67: Backtracking slightly. chronologically. with my numerous events and adventures of the 70’s, before I begin my summers in Wyoming, my colleagues in the DFC&FC and I, often joined by others, spend a lot of time backpacking and backcountry skiing in the ranges surrounding the Wood River Valley and Sun Valley, ID. The Pioneers are, quite literally, in our backyard, and it takes the least amount of time to get to these trailheads, so we go there often. Besides numerous visits to Pioneer Cabin, the last roads of abuse my 327 Camaro suffers, are repeated drives up Trail Creek into the Bedstead and the access to numerous trails - I think we even forge water that comes under the car door - LOL. A classmate from UCLA, and now life-long friend and fellow artist, Doug Metrov, joins me for several first-of-fall days camping at Boulder Lake; Jon Davis and Michael Holmes, similarly now, life-long friends, join me in a search for the last and highest lake in Wild Horse; and most of all there is Kane Lake. Kane is a favorite destination of the DFC&FC for many reasons, and so we visit often. The lake, waterfalls, and surrounding meadows are spectacular for sure, but we also spend a great deal of time ABOVE Kane Lake in a very different terrain. From that higher elevation there is very dramatic summit access, but our best kept secret that is we, the members of the DFC&FC, knew the resident Hamadryades, and they REALLY liked us, so they came out to play whenever we arrived.
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Friday, October 6, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #66:
Daze, #66: Given my DFC&FC friends in Sun Valley, my commission to work in Montana, and POWDER magazine having interest in my stories, my winters are increasingly spent on the road with my partner, Vicki Golden (posts #57-58). When we are back in Los Angeles, we have numerous projects that we have begun that we must shepherd. The Paul Outerbridge collection ( and post #50), we have been developing as an exhibit with catalog for the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies is coming to fruition, and when we seek a venue date in LA for the premier of this amazing body of work of one of the first color photographers, we are consistently turned down because most of the museum curators are unfamiliar with him, OR they think some of his subject matter in the more challenging pictures is too “kinky” and inappropriate - (REALLY! Then one of them later puts up the Mapplethorpe X Portfolio! REALLY!) As Vicky is now working with the new G. Ray Hawkins Photography Gallery, she convinces G. Ray to host the Outerbridge exhibit, the opening of which is a HUGE success and draws great reviews. The discovery of this collection is eventually considered one of the great finds in photographic history. Vicki also convinces G. Ray to take interest in my winter images, from which he exhibits a small selection and plans publishing of others. Perhaps most significantly to me,Vicki is equally aware of my desire to see my STONED IMMACULATE images printed in larger scale, and in the course of working with G. Ray, she learns that a new Japanese scanning mural printer has just been brought to LA, and the company has approached G. Ray to see if he has any photographers that might have interest in experimenting with their new device. The printer scans a digital file from film which commands a bank of airbrushes to spray overlapping color dot patterns on any absorptive material surface such as canvas. While subtlety of tone, and sharpness of detail are sacrificed beyond what I might have wished for, the imagery still works well and confirms for me that scale IS important to this body of my work. As it is, these are some of the largest photographic “prints" being made at this time, and I would gladly print them larger if their integrity could be sustained. The 6ft x 8ft images above are ink on canvas, digitally generated from 35mm slide film and you see them here displayed as part of the Fluor Corporation collection, established in the early 70’s.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, September 29, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #65:
Daze, #65: The ski along the ridge above Pioneer Cabin with my friends and colleagues from the DFC&FC proves to be a “gift of the storm.” In an environment where at first I think conditions are an obstacle, I discover THEY ARE ACTUALLY THE SUBJECT. Within a few hours time, these two images, “Peak Above A Cloud” and “3 Trees,” unfold before me, and they too, will become part of the portfolio, “WINTERS: 1970-1980". As with the previous post, “View in a Storm,” both of these images also become embroideries in the collaborative work that I am doing with a guild in China, through the UCLA-China Exchange Program. Color images from the day's adventures, post #53, are my earliest, truly dramatic mountain photographs, and they become part of my first story for POWDER magazine. As importantly, when I return to my darkroom, and process/print the black-and-white images from this adventure, I begin to see a unique POV emerging, VERY DIFFERENT from the detail and expected tonality of what where the “traditions” of landscape photography. Further, the whole experience of working with friends to do something positive, the reward of the remarkable day, AND the complicated descent ski out, all emboldened the work I am pursuing on my various fronts. It feeds into my visits to Big Mountain and Glacier National Park, and inspires me to consider new ideas about where one might ski that could provide unusual stories to POWDER. I am the ONLY photographer at the moment shooting backcountry, and backcountry-skiing as subject matter, and they are the ONLY magazine that is publishing it, so where can we go with this that might be interesting, while still feeding into my personal work?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, September 22, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #64:
Daze, #64: The ski tour into Glacier National Park that produced the 3 images in the previous posts, is just a small portion of things I am balancing throughout the 70’s. I am no longer teaching photography workshops in Sun Valley during the summer, because I have begun to explore the Wind River Range in Wyoming, but often I pass through to hike and ski with my friends in the DFC&FC, and I try to lure them into visiting Montana and Wyoming with me. My association with POWDER magazine drives much of my winter activities, and allows me to travel and pay for adventures that, not only get published as stories, but parts of which become images included in my to-be published portfolio (previous posts), “WINTERS: 1970-1980”. POWDER approached me because they saw my story in Sun Valley Magazine about the DFC&FC repair of Pioneer Cabin in mid-winter (post #52 and this blog. That story produced some of my best early mountain pictures (post #53), many of which ran in the magazine, but it also blessed me with 3 additional images for my WINTERS portfolio, of which this, ”View in a Storm,” is one.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, September 15, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #63:
Daze, #63: This image, “Avalanche Lake Basin (Cirque Headwalls in a Blizzard)” becomes the third photograph from my mid-winter, camping, ski-tour of Glacier National Park to go into my portfolio, “Winters:1979-1980”. It has another life, however, related to the work I do when I am not on the road. Back in Los Angeles, between my travels, I am also serving as a curator for the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies. When I began working with LACPS, Victor Landweber, and I put up a number of shows of different individual artists, at varying locations in the city. Notable among them, a great exhibit from Peter DeLory, and another from Joyce Niemanas. (When she visited for her exhibit, she met my former teacher, Robert Heinecken and they would become partners until his death.) Because LACPS is an artist's collective with no director, it is often difficult, or contentious, to get things done, so the successful programs operate like individual projects. I get very lucky to discover of the life-body of photographs of important color photographer, Paul Outerbridge, in Laguna Beach, and my partner at the time, Vicki Golden ( post #58), and I develop this collection into an exhibit and catalog for LACPS that is awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Grant. The project's national success, results in me being elected Executive Director of LACPS. Victor Landweber also shifts his focus in an important way, with an idea to raise funds for our group by publishing a boxed portfolio of prints representing the photographic scene in LA at the moment. The portfolio is large, and includes many members of LACPS. It is also a GREAT selection of work and artists, thanks to Victor, and it sells out immediately, almost all editions going to major museums. There is one landscape of the natural world included in the portfolio, this is it. Printed 11”x 14” (edition of 45).
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, September 8, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #62:
Daze, #62: After graduating from CalArts in 1974, I enter a very busy period in my life comprised of many individual projects and a lot of traveling in my van (post #57). After helping to found the photography workshop program for the Sun Valley Creative Arts Center, I design a fabulous darkroom complex for them based on the very successful model I personally experienced at UCLA, but I am told there is "a lot of money involved," and Bill Janss wants to bring in his old friend, Ansel Adams, to advise the planning. My darkroom has a small group area and several “private” stations, Ansel wants one giant group demonstration area and no private spaces, as he has in his workshop in Yosemite. Furthermore, I am also told that SVCAC is going to hire and name a director for the program, and I will "be considered.” As one of the founders of this VERY SUCCESSFUL program, I am insulted not to be made director automatically, but the gods have delivered new worlds for me to explore, and I sense that, so I spare everyone grief, and resign. Also at Ansel’s recommendation, SVCAC ultimately hires Cheri Hiser away from the Center of the Eye Workshops in Aspen, to make her their new director. This would be a VERY brief marriage. Meanwhile, my summers are now occupied with backpacking in the Wind Rivers of WY, thanks to Bill Lund and Sharon Disney’s  invitation, and my winters are spread between trips with friends in the DFC&FC, and doing work in Montana for my client, Tom Curran. The photographs I am making for Tom are actually just part of the effort I am putting into the opportunity to be in Montana. I am also working on a story for POWDER magazine involving the ski area, Big Mountain, and I plan a mid-winter, camping, ski-tour with friends into Glacier National Park. That tour produces the above images, and the one to follow next week, all three of which will be published in my portfolio, “Winters: 1970-1980”.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, September 1, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #61:
Daze, #61: This is what 10,000ft looks like in the Wind River mountains of Wyoming. In the foreground, Black Joe lake has about 6-miles of shoreline. Looming over it is Haystack Mountain, 11,978ft. In the basin to the right side of Haystack, there are 3 more large lakes, and in the background rise Temple (12,977ft) and East Temple (12, 620ft) peak. This is some very big, very clean granite that hosts some of the best alpine climbing and backpacking in North America. Thanks to the invitation from Bill Lund (previous post) and Sharon Disney to visit their Diamond-D Ranch in Dubois, WY after my graduation from CalArts, I discover the Wind River Range and with my partner, Vicki Golden ( post #58), spend three summers backpacking and camping throughout some of the highest alpine lake basins in the U.S. The stunning vistas and dramatic summits become my first truly focused body of work. When I have what I feel is something comprehensive, I take it to the Sierra Club because it seems to fit their style and purpose of book publishing. They are interested, and I am VERY excited because I have never had a book published, but then I have a countering thought. If I do publish, and the book is beautiful, everyone will want to come to these places, and they already have a relatively high volume of use. Much to the chagrin of my parents (who think I have lost my mind), I decide NOT TO PUBLISH, and simple put all the work away in my files. Some of the images would finally emerge many years later to become a book protesting oil and gas development in the Green River Basin, but most of what I did has never been seen,..until now. This week, you may have noticed, I introduced a new blog, “High & Wild - 3yrs. of Wandering in the Wind Rivers.” If you like mountains and impressive alpine terrain, I think you will enjoy this, and I hope you will follow it.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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Friday, August 25, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #60:
Daze, #60: I receive my MFA from CalArts in 1974. The school has only recently opened, and some negative press surrounding the opening has cost the sitting president his job. The school is an arts-education-dream of the Disney family, and Sharon Disney is married to William (Bill) Lund at the time. Bill is a financial advisor who has had some very prominent clients, especially in real estate development. Sharon is concerned that the future of the new school is at risk until they can find a replacement for the ousted president, and she and the board ask Bill if he would serve in that position until a new administrator can be found, to which he agrees. Both Bill and the board are looking for ways to “improve” the school’s public image and show their unusual educational programming works in light of the bad press they have received, and then I put up my MFA-graduate exhibit in one of the main galleries and have a VERY successful opening. The morning after the opening reception, I arrive at the gallery to tidy up, and find Bill and the entire board inside, walking through the exhibit. I sell a LOT of prints that morning, but more importantly, Bill and I like each other, and he asks if I would like to come and stay at the Diamond-D, a huge Disney ranch at the foot of the Wind River Mountains, just outside of Dubois, WY. He thinks I might like to take pictures of those mountains “if I have no immediate plans after getting my degree." I accept, and the story of my 3-years adventuring in “The Winds” is a new blog I will launch next Thursday: High and Wild - 3yrs. of Wandering in the Wind Rivers. Bill and I will remain friends throughout our lives. He will join the board of a non-profit I create; do a float trip with me in Alaska; travel with friends and I to many locations in which I work; and ultimately, serve as my business advisor at the time of my parent’s death. Thank you, Bill Lund!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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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
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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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
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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