Shop Sundance Catalog

icon icon

Friday, October 18, 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, October 18, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #170: Daze, #170: After several very enjoyable days in a guest house on the summit of Mount Huangshan, Carey and I, have explored a myriad of trails, scenic view terraces, sunrises, and sunsets. We have also had some great dinners. We are always joined by our guide for this meal, which he uses to advise us about what we might do the next day. On our last night, he explains that in the morning, the bearers will collect our bags, and we will descend to the valley floor, staying in the same guest house we used, before coming here. Then, on the following morning, we would board a bus that would take us to Shanghai. He turned in after the meal, so Carey and I took a last walk under the stars, and hatched a VERY different plan. We have studied the various trail maps of the mountain, and believe we know where the stone staircase down to the valley floor begins, so that night we pack our bags, leaving them with a note for our guide, saying we will meet him for dinner at the guest house on the valley floor. Before dawn, while the others are seeking their view platform of choice, she and I go AWOL, and head for the staircase. We have NO IDEA what we are getting into, but after several hours of plunging down one STEEP stone staircase after another, there is certainly no going back. Our gear, looks like no one else’s on the mountain. We sport Patagonia fleece, state-of-the-art, climber’s daypacks filled with snacks, a very fancy Nikon camera system many lenses dangling from my hip-belt in foam padded-pockets, and most significantly, really great hiking boots. There is NO ONE on the stairs going down, but by midday, we start passing HUNDREDS of Chinese walking up, most in what foreigners refer to "Chinese slippers” - cheap, thin cloth shoes with plastic soles. Only some of those we pass carry a daypack, and ALL are dressed similarly - the men wear slacks with (mostly) long-sleeved, white collared shirts, and the women sport, dresses, slacks, or in some cases, jeans. When greeted in passing by Carey and I, most stand speechless, as though they have never seen anything like us. It makes for a VERY long and amusing day. It is also one of the most spectacular hikes of our lives. Going down!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________
Friday, October 11, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #169: Daze, #169: Carey, I, and our English speaking Chinese guide/handler, overnight in a guest house on the valley floor beneath the Huangshan Reserve, and then take an incredible funicular ride to the summit the next morning. Unlike the dreary, foggy, rainy day before, on this morning the sun is shining brightly, and the sculptured peaks and trees we view on the way up in the funicular, are simply fantastical. At the top, bearers collect our luggage, and take it to the guest house, where we will stay. Our guide gets us established, and then informs us, that we are on our own to wander the numerous trails, all of which lead to various scenic view platforms, and pavilions, and all connected by the amazing stone pathways that include 60,000 stairs carved into these mountains over several centuries. He says he will meet us for dinner, but he will stay in a “Chinese” guest house, and not in ours, because ours is only meant for foreign visitors. Sunrises and sunsets are major daily events, and also cultural spectacles. EVERYONE on the mountain attends one or another of the view platforms at dawn and dusk, to huzzah loudly at whatever the day offers. All hotels provide pre-dawn wake up with a light breakfast, and indeed, it is the sunrise I find most dramatic. We are in southern China, and the vast agricultural valleys, and tea terraces below, are VERY hot and humid during the day. At our elevation, that turns into a fog about the peaks at night, and often when you arrive at a view pavilion before dawn, it is CROWDED with people, all socked in by a drippy, cold fog. As the sun rises, the fog burns off slowly, revealing various peaks and ridgelines, here and there. This might go on for an hour or more, and with each revelation, those who see it, all exclaim their excitement loudly. There is considerable braying! Humorously, one might be at a station that is still in the fog, and from elsewhere on the mountain, where a clearing is occurring, you can hear the wild shouts from another pavilion. Carey and I soak all of this in for several very nice days of weather, taking lots of pictures, and visiting as many points of interest as we can. Our guide joins us for our dinner meals to discuss our day, and offer advice for the next, AND the food is quite good, so she and I are having a great time. Still, we would have liked to have experienced the incredible stone staircase up and down, and not just those here at the summit. For those that would like to follow this entire story, click here: posts #68-#118.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Friday, October 4, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #168: Daze, #168: With projects starting up in the Tongass rainforest of Alaska, and the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area, near Atlanta. I am doing a good bit of air travel in the U.S. I am also doing a very long flight to Shanghai/Suzhou, China, two or three times a year, to work with a premier embroidery guild as part of a collaboration facilitated by the UCLA-China Exchange Program. In the early stages of developing this cooperation, my partner - 1st wife, Carey,- frequently accompanies me. Besides the work I pursue at the embroidery institute, our host, Zhang Meifang, who has risen to be the Director, wants us to experience the many things that the country takes pride in, and that makes up part of their national character. She knows we are adventurers, and committed to various environmental issues, and so she plans a VERY unique trip for us to experience a reserve of mountains the Chinese refer to as sacred. Mount Huangshan now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and although VERY popular as a Chinese tourists destination, the Chinese government currently feels that it is not quite ready for foreign tourism, so it is still unusual to find foreign tourists there. Zhang is not only Director of the embroidery guild with whom I am collaborating, she is also a congressional delegate to the National People’s Congress, so she has far-reaching power, which she uses to create our trip. We are excited for a chance to do this, but we have no idea what it entails. It starts with a train ride from Suzhou, that drops us at 4a.m. at a tiny rail station, where a car is waiting. It is a rainy, foggy day, and we drive for two hours through farmlands and rural villages, finally turning into to a steep-sided valley, and ascending a horribly maintained road, that parallels a spectacular river. We have entered a venerated tea-growing area, and many of the surrounding slopes are terraced for growing. We also pass many girls on the drive, who are offering fresh tea leaves at their roadside stands, or from baskets balanced on their heads. We eventually arrive at a small cluster of old-school Chinese guest houses, where we will spend the night. At the guest house, we are met by a man that will be our personal guide, so he gets us settled in and fed, while he explains our program. We may walk around on the lower trails at the mountain’s foot today, then spend the night at the guest house, to rise early and take a funicular to other guests houses at the summit. We will then stay there for several more days to hike around. When we ask if it is possible for us to walk up instead of ride, he tells us that the trails on Huangshan consists of 60,000 or more stairs carved into the rock, and they cannot be completed in one day. Such a hike would require a stay at a midway guest house, deemed, as yet, unsuitable for foreigners. We are disappointed, but tell him we understand. We dine with him that night, and in the early morning, join him for a spectacular ride to the summit.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #167: Daze, #167: The woodlands of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area (CNRA), adjacent the city of Atlanta are more diverse than the forests of the Hudson River, where I have just completed and published other work. This far south, things are more hot, and humid, a greater part of the year, and this has created a fantastical jungle of growth, where species entwine themselves with each other, and make passage through the forest difficult. While this variety may not be all that obvious in the green of summer, when fall arrives, and each species does “its thing,” the color show goes off like fireworks, displaying just about every shade and tone every seen. It makes for a potent visual mix, and I fully indulge myself. How about the "suspended animation” above,..YEOW! You should see this printed at 48”x “66!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Friday, September 20, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #166: Daze, #166: The Chattahoochee National Recreation Area (CNRA) includes both a national forest, and the Chattahoochee River, which flows through the middle of Atlanta. Tom Cousins, one of Atlanta’s great patrons and developers (see last post), has created the huge complex, Wildwood Office Parks, adjacent the river, and he has commissioned me to photograph the CNRA. Although it is only the mid-80’s, Cousins’ Wildwood development is considered “environmentally sensitive,” because of sight planning that made many structures less visible in the landscape, and as I would learn, Cousins also provided 1,700 acres of land now incorporated into the CNRA. I knew he offered me this commission because he was especially fond of some of my images in the series, “Order From Chaos,” so I face the challenge of working in the forest without hesitation, but I know I also need to address the river. Much of the year, Atlanta is VERY hot and Humid, and as you can see in the previous post, the cold river water and the hot, moist air, often create morning fogs along the river’s edge, so I begin to study the visuals of that. The forest also has a stunning fall and spring display, and I look forward to those seasons, as I know there will be a lot of opportunity to shoot.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #165: Daze, #165: 1985 proves to be quite a year for me. Aperture publishes The Hudson River and the Highlands, I am invited to visit Suzhou, China, through the UCLA-China Exchange Program, and The Wallace Funds and the McIntosh Foundation offer me a commission to photograph the Tongass rainforest of Alaska. As if I am not busy enough, I am also offered another multi-year commission that brings me to Atlanta. Having seen my “Order From Chaos” work, it has attracted the attention of one of Atlanta’s great art patrons and most significant developers, Thomas Cousins. Cousins has built a HUGE corporate property adjacent the Chattahoochee River, and he wants me to make images of the river and the surrounding national forest, which is all part of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area. He intends to use those pictures to adorn the walls of the many large office buildings that are part of his Wildwood Office Parks development. Cousins, it turns out, is a major figure in the city, and one of its most significant developers. Wildwood is actually just a small part of an empire. He also developed the CNN Center, the Omni Coliseum, and the Peachtree Tower, remaking the skyline of the city. To further Atlanta’s rejuvenation and growth, he purchased the St.Louis Hawks basketball team, bringing them to Atlanta, where he also owned the ice hockey team, the Atlanta Flames, and the soccer club, the Atlanta Apollos. A great sport enthusiast of many disciplines, Cousins redesigned Bobby Jones’ East Lake Golf Club that had fallen into disrepair, and it is now considered one of the leading golf courses in America, and is part of the PGA Tour. Oh yes, and he served as Chairman of the Board at the High Museum for a time. Clearly, this is someone I would like to provide with a successful result from the commission being offered me.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #164: Daze, #164: One of Zhang’s reasons to choose to work with “Snowfall,” (last post) was that it would be “simple” to embroider, and not take much time (about 6-months). There was no need to dye an extensive palette of color, or to offer up more than a few stitch styles, although they had more than 40, created by design through many generations, that they could use. Because “Snowfall” proves to be a success, everyone is eager to move forward with something else, and I want to understand the range of what we can do, so I ask if we could attempt a piece in color that would incorporate as many stitch styles as suited the textures of the foliage,..and I had a very specific image in mind. I had just recently created it working on my commission in the Hudson River Valley and it is a fall scene around a lake with a wide variety of very different trees and fall colors in the view. The print is quite dramatic because of the brilliant red leaves set against the wet, black tree trunk, and the pastel colors of the background, and I feel certain the Chinese will understand what I am proposing. There are several gasps, and then ensuing hours of discussion, when I reveal the print to them, but in the end I read this correctly, and Zhang agrees with the embroidery team, that they will do this image as a 20”x 24”, 1-sided, wall hanging, and she will use the subject matter to show off both their dye and stitching skills. 1-1/2yrs. later, I am invited back to Suzhou for the unveiling of “Red Maple with Black Trunk.” It is a spectacle of color with shades that run from luminous reds, to subtle variations of pastel, and there are stitches upon stitches, making the surface of the piece dimensionally textural. We are beginning what appears to be a very successful collaboration. When I bring this piece home and frame it out, I have it for less than 6-months, and it is acquired by the Cargill collection, where it currently resides.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________
Friday, August 30, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #163: Daze, #163: As a participant in the UCLA-China Exchange Program, I hope to be invited to collaborate with embroiderers from Suzhou, widely considered to be the best in the world. To achieve that, UCLA introduces me to Dr. He Shan-an, Director of the Nanjing Botanical Garden, who offers to be my sponsor, introducing me and my ideas to the administrators of the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute (SERI), and serving our a translator. As fate would have it, Dr. He not only likes my ideas and my imagery, he is a lifelong friend of Zhang Meifang, who is about to ascend as the institute’s director. Dr. He succeeds in getting me invited, and is there in Suzhou to facilitate introductions when I arrive in 1986. I am the first non-Chinese to ever ask to work with these embroiderers, and I am also one of the first non-Chinese visitors to Suzhou, since China and the US decided to open their doors to each other. The national institute wherein I might work, was created by Mao, to make embroidered political tapestries, and it is still very much that place. The first order of business is a banquet where I sit with Zhang and the current Director, having a huge meal with about 30 other embroiderers and administrators. During that meal, I learn (through surreptitious translation) the current director tells Zhang not to even think about working with me, to which Zhang replies that she will make her own decision about me, when she takes charge, which she does a few days later. On this first visit, I spend two weeks, having long discussions about many different photographs, and my ideas to translate them. As the end of my visit approaches, SERI has not agreed to collaborate, and UCLA previously advised me that I may not succeed in getting them to create anything during my initial introduction. When the car arrives to take me to the train, however, Zhang and He await inside. and on the way to the train, Zhang tells me she will agree to do an embroidery. Surprisingly, she has chosen “Snowfall” from my black & white portfolio, “WINTERS: 1970-1980,” and she offers to make a complicated 2-sided, 16”x 20” embroidery out of it. I am very excited to have actually reached an agreement, and 6-months later when I return, this (above) is what I am presented. It is diaphanous, transparent in the whites, and exactly the same on both sides. Special “looping” stitches representing falling snow, and the highly detailed stitching in the dead tree, set against the background of the “cross” stitched forest, creates a perfect 3-dimensional illusion. Everyone agrees the results of our experiment are beautiful, AND the image has retained VERY photographic qualities, although it is entirely rendered in thread.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #162: Daze, #162: When UCLA agreed to allow me into their UCLA-China Exchange Program, it set some interesting political wheels in motion. I would need a letter of invitation to collaborate from the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute (SERI), and I had no contacts there. Additionally it would turn out that the appropriate contacts were also high-level politicians, by protocol, only approachable through someone of equal status. Fortunately, UCLA has a very connected population of both Chinese students and teachers, and they went to work for me, trying to find me the appropriate sponsor. Interestingly, the person they find, is a visiting professor doing research at UCLA, and his name is Dr. He Shan-an. He is the Director of the Nanjing Botanical Garden, among the most prestigious in China. He travels widely abroad communicating his expertise in blueberry research, AND he speaks English. When we meet he LOVES my photographic images, and my idea to try and embroider a photographic image, AND (what are the chances of this?), he has known Zhang Meifang all his life (last post). She is slated to be the new director at SERI, and it would have to be she that would invite me. In this image He and I are discussing images from one of my books, and Zhang is taking furious notes. I speak no Chinese. Zhang speaks no English. As it would turn out, poor Dr. He has to do ALL the translating, and it takes a lot of work. He will join us for every meeting we ever have over 35yrs. of working together. He remains a great friend to this day, and nothing I have done in China could have been possible without him. (NB: SERI is housed in a famous Suzhou garden known as the Mountain Villa of Secluded Beauty, and it features meandering pathways, tea pavilions, and fish ponds. It was also built in the Qing Dynasty, so it is primarily constructed of stone, and has no central heating. The meeting above is being held during a very cold week in the winter, and the conference room we are in is freezing. We are all wearing layer-upon-layer of clothing, and drinking copious amounts of hot tea to little avail - LOL!)
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #161: Daze, #161: 1985 proves to be a remarkably important year in my career. Aperture Foundation publishes my first book, The Hudson River and The Highlands. Through the work on that commission I meet Barney McHenry and Michael McIntosh, and they have now offered me a new commission to explore the Tongass rainforest of Alaska, and the impact industrial logging is having on that rare habitat. Then, the wildest of wild cards drops! Having always been inspired by Edmund Teske and Robert Heinecken, my VERY non-traditional photography instructors at UCLA, even though I am making a reputation for myself with “straight” photography, I continue to explore photographic imagery in other ways, as well. Heinecken, in particular, used a lot of “alternative” presentations of the photographic image, often employing crafted objects, imagery on canvas, and much hand colored and painted details. Besides my interest in color, I love textural detail, and I find myself exploring ways to dimensionalize that as a form of photography - a photo-realisitic tapestry, so to speak. Working through that idea, I do some loom-weaving in Mexico, work with a rug maker in Germany, and print on canvas using a newly introduced Japanese scanning computer printer. I also discover some very detailed embroidery created in Suzhou, China. As fate would have it, Nixon and Chinese Premier, Deng XiaoPing, have just made friends, so China is slowly opening up to the west. My alma mater, UCLA is one of the first three American universities to enter an exchange program with China, and I take a wild chance at participating in it, by asking if I might go to Suzhou to attempt a textile collaboration. There are no other artists in the program, and UCLA likes the possibilities of this unusual proposal, so they accept. After two years of letter-writing, and aligning a sponsor, I am notified that the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute (SERI) awaits my arrival. Above is Zhang Meifang. She is my same age. At the time of my arrival, she is ascending as the Director of SERI, and she finds my ideas interesting enough to make a first embroidery, in order to see what the results will be.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #160: Daze, #160: Of the numerous islands in the Tongass rainforest affected by industrial clearcut logging, one of the largest, Prince of Wales, is also one of the most extensively logged, AND it has several communities connected by actual road. While most of the other clearcuts I visit must be approached from the air, I can drive a car from Ketchikan onto a ferry, departing it at a terminal on Prince of Wales, where a road leads to the Native village of Klawock, and the town of Craig. From that developed road, hundreds of miles of logging roads run off in every direction. Unlike a remote cut, where the only ground access might be through a logging camp likely hostile to a photographer doing a book about the STANDING rainforest, out here on Prince of Wales there is far too much public accessibility to control it, so although I need to be discreet when my cameras are out, no one seems to care whether I am driving about. There are others out here hunting and fishing, so the loggers have stopped paying attention for the most part, and I am grateful because it is on Prince of Wales, I make some of my most significant ground-based images of clearcuts.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Friday, August 2, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #159: Daze, #159: Although there are some factions that just want me to do a nice picture-book about southeast Alaska, and the Inside Passage, that is distinctly NOT what Barney McHenry and Michael McIntosh want me to deliver. They saw in my Aperture book, The Hudson River and The Highlands, how my images reflected both the good AND the bad parts of the river's history and development, and they hoped my view of the Tongass would similarly show the beauty of the little-known rainforest, the communities living within it, and the impact that the federal timber management program was having on all of it. Consequently, I spend a great deal of time chasing clearcuts, as well as camping and kayaking. Industrial logging occurs on many of the islands, and some sites are more approachable than others, but all of it is revealed from the air. Within just a few hours of landing in Alaska, I was once again airborne, but this time in my first private plane flight,..with a camera. The experience was eye-opening (no pun intended) because the low-and-slow aerial view offers such a COMPLETELY different perspective on the landscape. Now, as I travel for the project, I fly more often, and when it comes to viewing some of the logging sites, especially in interior areas of an island, the plane is the only way I would ever see some locations. There are no car roads to get to this lake and valley, only logging roads that lead to a camp at the water’s edge, where the logs are collected and shipped out.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #158: Daze, #158: Another unique part of the Tongass lies at its northern border, the Yakutat Forelands. The true old growth trees blanketing the 1,000+ islands of the Alexander Archipelago and forming the Inside Passage, terminate at the northernmost point of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. After that, the coastal shoreline looks directly into the weather-generating, Gulf of Alaska. For a brief stretch, the mountains of Glacier Bay descend nearly to the beach, then a forested plane begins to broaden the distance between the two. This plane is crossed by big rivers, and extends north for hundreds of miles. It is also home to the village of Yakutat. At the foot of two of the tallest coastal summits in the world, Mt. St. Elias to the north, and Mt. Fairweather to the south, the Yakutat Forelands is a rich forest habitat that is also being logged as part of the Tongass timber program. These are not the “old growth” trees of the Inside Passage, however. These trees are much smaller and more recent. THESE trees have established themselves since the recent retreat of glacial ice that covered this terrain. The above is an evening view from Tanis Mesa in the foothills of the forelands, the Alsek River (foreground), and many, many miles away, in Glacier Bay, the north side of Mt. Fairweather. As with many other locations I discover in this project, the Yakutat Forelands attract me to visit repeatedly, for adventures beyond the scope of my commission project, so I have written about those journeys in a separate blog, to be found here.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, July 19, 2019


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #157: Daze, #157:  If the coastal mountains and their vast icefields are the dramatic marker of the Tongass rainforest landscape (last post), the deep old growth forest is its beating heart. The 1,000+ mountainous, and densely tree-covered islands of the Alexander Archipelago are the realm of the Tongass, the largest, and most northern, temperate rainforest in the world. In most places, trees, some hundreds of years old, some thousands, blanket the terrain and come right to the edge of the shore. Only a few feet inside the canopy of the forest, life can be as primal a world as most of us will ever view. Trees of unimaginable size, surrounded by choking vegetation, blackwater swamps, and dinosaur-sized patches of skunk cabbage support wolves, deer, fish, eagles, and the largest brown bear population in North America. Yet, if you explore the actual landscape more deeply by following a river inland, the surreality of the forest asserts itself - huge young trees grow from fallen ancient ones, moss connects branches everywhere into a visible, unified network, and the air is so still, you cannot tell the water from the land, until a ripple occurs. Magritte would have loved this,..and out there somewhere, a bear is watching!

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, July 12, 2019


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #156: Daze, #156:  I will spend the next four summers exploring the Tongass rainforest. Within the first two years, I concentrate just on the rainforest and the logging, in particular, and chose not spend much time in areas already protected as parks or wilderness. In the latter two years, I return to do adventure travel trips I want to pursue, beyond the parameters of my original commission. Exploring the breadth of the habitat aboard the boats of The Boat Company introduces me to the many unique components that comprise the collective ecosystem of this forest. Certainly the most dramatic of these are the coastal mountains, some of which are the tallest in the world, ranging up to 18,000ft. This loft of rock directly faces the fury of storms born in the Gulf of Alaska, and as a consequence accumulates a staggering amount of rainfall and snow. Some places see as much as 350-inches of rain, and others get 50+ FEET of snow, building tremendous icecaps and glacial fields. In our current climate, there has been a considerable retreat of this ice, opening up numerous dynamic fjord systems to be explored by kayak camping. Misty Fjords National MonumentTracy Arm - Fords Terror WildernessGlacier Bay National Park and Preserve, and Icy Bay are all places I spend extended time, NOT related to my project. If you are interested in following some of those adventures in depth, several have already been published, or are being published, as blogs. Tracy Arm is one of the most inspiring locations in my life, and I visit over a dozen times in various boats, the best of which is an extended kayak camping journey. That story can be found here. I am also currently posting the stories of my first trips into the Tongass to do this work, and that can be found here.

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, July 5, 2019


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #155: Daze, #155:  In the last post, I describe getting ashore to explore the Tongass, and leave the post by stating that for whatever difficulties we encounter when we disembark our tender boats, being in the forest is “SO worth it!” Well, what do you think? Does this stunning fantasy of green appeal to you? I know immediately this commission will be one of THE great adventures of my life, rain or not. Our daily activities aboard our mothership, include naturalist-guided exploration hikes, fishing, and kayaking. Oh! I forgot eating. And eat, we do. The food is gourmet, and often features salmon, trout, or crab, all fresh, out of the waters around us, and sometimes caught by the guests. Our luxurious yacht not only gives us unique access, and enviable meals, but it lets us sleep in comfort, keeping the bugs, and frequent rain, at bay. As being in a rainforest is still new to me, having respite from the nearly daily rain, is a great comfort. Because we are all enjoying such a revealing natural experience together, it also bonds the guests and crew, allowing the daily information about the value of a standing forest, as opposed to a completely clearcut one, to be well received, and embedded, in our consciousness. As I am aboard to write a book about all of this, I spent a good deal of extra time in the staff dining area, talking to the naturalists about the complexities of this interwoven, old growth habitat we are exploring. This will be reflected in my book, and it will also inform my many other adventures to come, as I proceed with my commission. Thank you many, many times over to Michael and Winsome McIntosh, and their unique enterprise, The Boat Company.

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, June 28, 2019


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #154: Daze, #154:  After my attendance at the blow-out wedding party of complete strangers, all of us staying at the only hotel in Wrangell, I awake truly hammered, collect my gear, and head to the dock, where I am to board The Boat Company’s “Observer,” a small cruise ship that will offer me, and a few other guests, an intimate 12-day naturalist-guided tour of the Tongass rainforest. Upon my arrival at the dock, the captain notes I appear a bit “under the weather,” to which I explain about the wedding party I was invited to join. He replies, “I hear it was legendary.” Apparently word travels fast in Alaska - LOL! I am shown to my cabin, which is small but quite comfy, introduced to the other guests, and then we are off. What I learn from this initial voyage and adventure into the myriad islands of the Tongass, informs my next 4yrs. of adventuring there. The Tongass forest blankets more than 1,000 islands, offshore of the tallest coastal mountain range and fjord complex in North America. It is sustained, and so labeled, as the largest temperate rainforest in the world, because it is inundated by more than 300-inches of rain per year (325” on average in Ketchikan)! It has a few small cities, a number of very small towns, and only of few hundred miles of road, in an area of over 6-million acres. Most everyone gets around by float plane, or some form of boat. Being small, the “Observer” can go many places larger boats cannot, so this cruise offers all of us intimate views of a remarkable place. The picture above provides an informing perspective of the general landscape we explore. It is an inlet, bordered by dense forest, and at the moment, the kelp-covered tidal flat is partially exposed. On any given day, “Observer” might anchor in the nearby deepwater, and guests and guides will go ashore in smaller tender boats to explore the forest. With a +/- tide of 18-feet twice a day, the approach to the shore is always interesting. The tenders take us in as far as they can, and then, wearing our knee-high rubber boots, we must disembark and wade the rest of the way, sometimes in water still deep enough to top our boots. It can also be very slippery, but once ashore, SO worth it!

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, June 21, 2019


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #153: Daze, #153:  The patron who has offered me the commission to photograph the Tongass rainforest, is Barney McHenry, general counsel to the Lila Acheson Wallace Funds. They previously funded my Hudson River commission which has been such a great success, they make me this second offer. I have never been to Alaska, and am surprised to even know it has a rainforest, but Barney has been there before, and so he arranges for me to have my first encounter through a guided adventure, introducing me to The Boat Company, and its owners Michael and Winsome McIntosh. The Boat Company is very unique at this time. The single boat they operate, the “Observer," is a beautifully converted mine-sweeper, now turned into a luxury yacht. It only sleeps 12, if I remember correctly. Because the McIntosh family are fervent supporters of protecting the Tongass, instead of logging it, the crew of guide-naturalists, are evangelical in their dialogues with us about why this forest should NOT be industrially clearcut. I am told to meet the boat in Wrangell for a 12-day tour of the surrounding forest-covered islands. I am also told Wrangell is a “timber town,” and it is probably best not to tell the locals why I am there. Wrangell is small, and only has one hotel and one restaurant. When I arrive on a plane from Juneau, I have no reservation, but there is one room available. All the rest have been committed to a wedding party, that will occur in the coming evening. Unfortunately, the restaurant will be closed because it is serving the party, so I am told to get something from a local store. Before I can do that, however, a knock at my door brings new friends - the bride and groom, already slightly inebriated. They are “sorry” to ruin my visit, and tell me to join the wedding festivities so I will be fed properly. I suggests I do not have appropriate clothing, to which they reply, “Hey, this is Alaska, who f*@#ing cares.” Sounds fun to me! I arrive with some 30 others, all of whom have been drinking, and plan to drink more.., A LOT more! The food is great, the crowd friendly, and the liquor is flowing. After a raucous ceremony, the band emerges. They are from Anaheim, CA, and they feature a tall, blonde, female singer who is barely wearing anything. From their first note, they ROCK! As the party climaxes (no pun intended.), they break into a great, but little-known song by The Icicle Works, “Whisper to a Scream,” and the place, quite literally, goes nuts. The very attractive bride, and her new husband, sweep the beer bottles of the main dining table, and climb up onto it to dance, as best they are still able, Mid-song, the bride lifts her formal white wedding dress to display her garter (with gun) and a glittery bustier, to cheers from everyone. I LOVE Alaska! Although, when I report to the “Observer” dock in the morning, I am seriously damaged, and I have only been “in country” for 2-days. OMG!

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, June 14, 2019


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

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, June 7, 2019


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #151: Daze, #151:  With The Hudson River and the Highlands now published (previous post), and a commercial success upon release, Carey and I give up our lovely home near Cold Spring, NY, and prepare to drive our van back to Los Angeles, where I expect to publish another 9-images in my series, “Order from Chaos.” Before departing, however, Barney McHenry, my liaison to the Lila Acheson Wallace Funds, invites us to dine with him one more time, and so we do. During that meal, he asks what I might be planning next, and I respond that I am going to LA, to publish a folio of new prints, and then I hope to travel to Alaska,..at which point he begins to laugh. When I query him as to why he is laughing, he says I must be prescient, because he has invited me to dinner to offer me ANOTHER commission, in ALASKA!. He wants me to go there and photograph a place I have never even heard of, the Tongass rainforest. He tells us it is one of the most important forests in the world, and it is being badly damaged by industrial logging, so I should just “observe and do what you do.” Carey and I have a pleasant drive back to LA. I co-publish my next portfolio of 9-30”x 40” Cibachrome prints, "Order from Chaos: New Work, Too,” with the George Dalsheimer Gallery in La Jolla, and the G. Ray Hawkins Gallery in LA - another great success - and Carey and I start making plans for travel to Alaska. We rent a very nice home in Manhattan Beach, and as she wants to pursue her interests in a writing career, and we know nothing about the rigors of Alaska, she chooses to stay home during the summer, and I will go explore the Tongass with an assistant, our mutual friend, and fellow artist, Philip Slagter. As I study information about the Tongass rainforest, the scale of the task ahead, begins to dawn on me. The Tongass is THE most northern rainforest in the world, and also one of the largest 16million + acres). It is comprised of over 1,000 mountainous islands, which sit offshore of the tallest coastal mountain-fjord carved ranges on the planet. It is a VAST world of water, trees, and ice, with few towns, and fewer people. There are not many roads either. Everyone gets around by boat and ferry. It hosts a significant salmon fishery, among other species as well. Most notably, it is home to the greatest concentration of Bald Eagle and GRIZZLY BEAR known. As Grizzlies go, these are also considered to be some of the largest. WHAT?

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, May 31, 2019


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #150: Daze, #150:  I have now finished my commission from the Lila Acheson Wallace Funds to photograph the Hudson River Valley, and I take the collective work into New York to show Barney McHenry, my liaison to the foundation. Barney has seen my images as they have evolved during the two years in residence, and he especially likes my inclusion of the industrial sites. When we meet, he is very excited to see the collected work in total, and he announces that he wants to separate what I have done from the other two artists commissioned, Stephen Shore, and William Clift, publishing my work as a stand alone book. Now, I’m EXCITED! Discussing possible publishers, I tell him I have previous books with Viking (American Photographers and the National Parks), and Harry N. Abrams (SEAFARM: The Story of Aquaculture), so he tells me to take my folio to them. Both show interest in publishing me, but neither wants to use any of the industrial images. They want an "attractive, coffee-table publication." When I report this back to Barney, he does not agree, and says I should go to Aperture. Aperture, of whom I am well aware, publishes esoteric, art photography books, and I do not expect to be well received there, but I go. Talking to the Director of Aperture Foundation, Michael Hoffman, I can tell he does not like the inclusions of industrials either, but surprisingly, a very prominent and respected editor on his design staff, defends their inclusion. I, once again, report back to Barney, and he responds that he is having lunch with Michael that very day, and he will “speak” to him. After that lunch, Barney confirms the book is a “go,” WITH the industrials included. The above is the result. The book is released in late fall, for the Christmas season, and Aperture sells ALL 10,000 copies of the first printing BEFORE Christmas! They also put up a great show in their gallery, which then travels for 2yrs. afterward, to many NY locations. With the exhibit on the Aperture gallery walls, Laurance Rockefeller, hosts an amazing sit-down dinner for 30+, right in the gallery. Needless to say, it is a wonderful night for me. In retrospect, I would have liked to see more industrials included in the book and exhibit, than were, but if you have followed this blog, you have now had a chance to view them. The essay for the book was written by James Thomas Flexner, a distinguished Hudson River historian from the New York Historical Society, and I was allowed a brief Afterword, to thank those who helped me along the way. At the moment of writing it, American politicians were considering “renewal” of the Clean Water Act, and since the ongoing “clean up” of the Hudson had been assisted by that act, I also made some modest references to it. In retrospect, I could have been MUCH more outspoken. This would be the last time I would write for a book, and hold back on my political beliefs.

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, May 24, 2019


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #149: Daze, #149:  Spring in the Hudson Valley, quickly becomes warm and humid, and morphs into summer. At some point fairly soon, I am going to take all the work I have been doing in the Hudson Valley into New York to show to my contact, Barney McHenry, and others at the Lila Acheson Wallace Funds. I am also getting close to having a sufficient number of “other” images that I am hoping to get published as my second portfolio of large format prints. The icing on that cake, comes this day. In a light rain, I stop to ponder this swampy thicket of trees and bushes, when I realize the light brown leaves in the foreground are Beech, and have been leftover through the winter from last season. To the right of them, the yellow-white blossoms are Dogwood, one of the first trees to flower-out in spring. One of the most well-known Hudson River Painters was Thomas Cole, and one of his last great paintings was entitled, “The Voyage of Life,” wherein he depicted the journey of a human passing from birth to death. The image above is a natural-world metaphor for what he was trying to express. From the roof of my van, with my 4x5, one of the last images I make in the Hudson River Valley is this, “The Voyage of Life/Homage to Thomas Cole.” The image is published in my first Aperture book, The Hudson River and the Highlands, and it also serves as the last image to fulfill my hopes of publishing another portfolio of 9 large format prints in my ongoing series.

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, May 17, 2019


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #148: Daze, #148:  Having never been through a New England spring, I do not expect it to be as colorful as the fall, but it is, perhaps even moreso. The image above is not a fall shot, but rather the vibrancy of spring. While working on the Lila Acheson Wallace Funds commission in the Hudson Valley, I have made some unexpected, and significant friends. One of those who has purchased prints from me is Laurance Rockefeller, and he and other family members live in an expansive compound of houses and gardens in Pocantico Hills. The historic home Kykuit is there as well, and none of this is open to the public, as yet. Through I series of contacts and persuasive letters, Laurance allows me to photograph the grounds, gardens, golf course, and Kykuit, but asks that I not make images of the private homes or their locations. Happy to be invited, I frequently visit and shoot. Nearby Tarrytown is also historic, and has lovely homes and neighborhoods, so I often pass through it when I visit Kykuit. On this especially rainy day, I decide to drive through the spectacular Tarrytown Cemetery, which is in an explosion of spring bloom. Again, from the roof of my van, with my 4x5 camera, I shoot this, “A Sympathy of Things,” another new image that would eventually be included in my forthcoming portfolio, and also in my first Aperture book, The Hudson River and The Highlands.

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, May 10, 2019


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #147: Daze, #147:  When Carey and I move into our leased home in the Hudson River Valley, so that I might work on the commission I have been given by the Lili Acheson Wallace Funds, I expect to see a colorful fall season, and snow in the winter. Having grown up in California, however, I have never seen a New England spring. Once winter snows are washed away by warming rains, the dense forests are just a thrash of twigs and limbs in somber shades of brown and gray. Then things start to bloom out, and OMG! Throughout this project I am using two cameras: I shoot with my 4x5 when conditions allow it, and when the weather is less than hospitable, I use my Pentax 6x7. Prior to moving into the valley, I published a portfolio of 9-30” x 40” prints in an edition of 20, entitled, “Order from Chaos, New Work,” all shot with my 4x5 camera. This body of work was immediately successful, and some of the profits from it, support Carey and I, while in New York. I have several other images I have accumulated since, which were not included in the initial portfolio, and then spring comes to the Hudson. Simultaneously, on the West Coast, two top galleries have taken note of my profitable sales, and the G.Ray Hawkins Gallery in Los Angeles, and the George Dalsheimer Gallery in La Jolla, reach out to me in New York, to see if I have further images. I would like to have another 9, but at the moment I do not. Seeing this Forsythia bloom from the rooftop of my van, however, I feel certain I will have other encounters as spring progresses, so I tell them we COULD publish, if they like what they see, when I next return to LA. This image, “Trying To Stop The World,” would be part of the next portfolio AND it would also be published in my soon-to-be Aperture book, The Hudson River and the Highlands.

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, May 3, 2019


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #146: Daze, #146:  It is in this commission that I begin to experiment with images in multiple panels. I never try to create a perfect seamed view, but rather one in which the flow works nonetheless. Coming from the West, perhaps I am more litter-conscious, but something I find remarkable in the Hudson Valley, and actually, practiced statewide, is the dumping of personal trash, industrial rubbish, and other discards, pretty much anywhere you find rural open space. Below the cliffs of the numerous scenic overlooks along the river, I constantly encounter piles brown paper bags, filled with rotting household products. It is not exactly as the Hudson River School had envisioned the valley. As a consequence I could not resist this picture, and the humorous title I assigned it. This is the shoreline edge of a traffic circle, just north of Peekskill that has become such a dump-zone. On this night, it is being graced by a sunset in the style of Hudson River painter, Frederic Church, hence, this diptych is entitled, “Requiem for Frederic Church."

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


Friday, April 26, 2019


The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #145: Daze, #145:  As my visual fascination with industry continues to grow, I discover not only the heavy industrial sites around Troy, but further upriver and a bit closer to the Adirondacks in Glens Falls, I also encounter a subject that would prove prescient of work that I would do in the future. Finch-Pruyn is a paper manufacturer in Glens Falls, but they also own substantial acreage in the Adirondacks, which they log for the purposes of their paper-making. I am introduced to the company by the curator of The Hyde Collection a local museum, so they not only allow me access, they sponsor and exhibit of my work at the museum, and they use one of my most industrial images as a poster for the show. I made numerous images of the plant, as well as the log piles, and although I did not know it at the time, in just a few years I would find myself in the Tongass, trying to stop some of the most destructive clearcut logging on the planet, and mills, log piles, and clearcuts would become a substantive part of my portfolio.

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________


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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd @LittleBearProd
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
____________________________________________________
Friday, July 20, 2018

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

SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________

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 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

SOCIAL MEDIA by @LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
____________________________________________________


__________________________________________________

Social Media by @LittleBearProd


Shop Sundance Catalog

icon icon