Shop Sundance Catalog

icon icon

Friday, March 27, 2020

THE CUYAHOGA RIVER VALLEY: From Flames to Fame by Robert Glenn Ketchum

THE CUYAHOGA RIVER VALLEY: 
From Flames to Fame
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



In 1986, I was given a commission from the Akron Art Museum and the National Park Service to photograph the recently created Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area. My work helped put that location on the map, and since then, the NRA has been upgraded to National Park status, becoming one of the most visited parks in the national system.
~Robert Glenn Ketchum





Friday, March 27, 2019

Cuyahoga River Valley:  From Flames to Fame #2:
Cuyahoga #2:  After touring the length and breadth of the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area (CVNRA), I tell the Akron Art Museum and the National Park Service, that I am interested in the commission to photograph the park, but I want to approach the shoot as I did my previous Hudson River project. I want to be able to shoot EVERYTHING - farming, structures, industrial sites, and toxic cleanups - because all of those things are happening within the park’s perimeter. Kathleen Monaghan, the Director of the Akron Art Museum, knew the Hudson River work well, which I think helped sway the decision making process, and I am awarded the commission, so now I have a good deal to learn about the history and biological importance of the river valley. I know, as did most everyone, that the river was so polluted near its head in Cleveland, that it actually caught fire and burned for several days, but beyond that I am not aware of much else. Once the project begins, however, I make a considerable effort to be more informed. The area of concentration afforded by my commission is the extension of the valley from Cleveland to Akron. Historically, that section of the river had been a barge canal and towpath, used to ferry freight from the Great Lakes through to the Ohio River, for shipment downstream, and the towpath was being restored by the NPS as part of the new development plan. Biologically the park is very diverse thanks to some unique bedrock structures and sediment deposits. There are over 100 waterfalls in the park, some obvious and very popular, such as Brandywine, the tallest waterfall in Northeastern Ohio, but many others pour over abrupt ledges in narrow ravines, feeding discreetly into the Cuyahoga. The image above is of an area known as The Ledges, a dramatic and very beautiful outcropping of bedrock, that offers expansive views of the forested valley below. It is a wonderful place to climb and explore, and there are also Talus caves among the boulders below the outcrop. Other geologic elements that comprise the areas unique features, include traces of the Defiance moraine, Berea Sandstone, Bedford Shale, Marcellus Shale, Utica Shale, Devonian Huron Shale, and Sharon Conglomerate. The interaction of these various deposits created many of the gorges and waterfalls, and fostered the diversity of forest and understory growth.

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 20, 2019

High in the Sawtooths, #1:
Sawtooths #1:  In 1985, I was contacted by Kathleen Monaghan, at that time, Director of the Akron Art Museum, and she asked if I would be interested in a commission to photograph the Cuyahoga River Valley. Since I knew almost nothing about the area, she invited me to visit, in order to decide. Other photographers of note, including Richard Misrach, and Joel Meyerowitz, were also being considered, so I agreed to the visit, to better understand what I might contribute. The only knowledge I had about the Cuyahoga was that it flows through Cleveland, Ohio, from the Great Lakes, and that it was so industrially polluted, the river actually caught fire and burned. I was not sure how that could qualify the river valley as a National Recreation Area (NRA), but it did make me curious. As I would learn, Cleveland and Akron were industrial cities in transition. Steel, rubber, and heavy manufacturing, were declining, and new tech enterprises were emerging. The cities were trying to rebuild, and re-invent themselves, and the Cuyahoga River Valley connected them, flowing through both. The valley had a barely remembered historical significance in serving as a barge towpath for trade goods in the late 1800’s, transitioning from the Great Lakes to the Ohio River, and beyond, and portions of that towpath still exist. Cleveland was trying to clean up the polluted waterfront that caught fire, and both cities had large Metroparks through which the river also passes. So, the political stewards of Ohio’s future, dreamed of an attractive public park that would follow the river corridor, link the Metroparks, and draw in profitable tourism, and in 1974, they achieved getting the area designated as an NRA. In the ensuing ten years, progress had been made in the park’s creation, but there are still obstacles, and a great lack of knowledge about the landscape and its history, so the idea of having a well-known photographer create an exhibitable body of work, appealed to everyone as a great way to approach and inform the public about the value of the developing resource, and I am among those being considered.

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

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

_____________________________


Social Media by @LittleBearProd


Shop Sundance Catalog

icon icon