Robert Glenn Ketchum

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Robert Glenn Ketchum (born December 1, 1947) is a landscape and nature photographer whose work has a strong environmental advocacy message.

Life and career[edit]

Ketchum attended high school at the Webb School of California. He then studied design as an undergrad at UCLA and began his study in photography under the direction of Edmund Teske and Robert Heinecken. He later received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1974. After he graduated he began a lifelong friendship with Eliot Porter, who helped form his ideas about photography and about how photography can be used to help change the world.

In his 30-year career, Ketchum has become well known as a photographer-environmentalist. In its centennial edition, Audubon magazine included Ketchum in their list of 100 people "who shaped the environmental movement in the 20th century."[1] He was also listed by American Photo magazine as one of the 100 most important people in photography,[2] as well as being named the 2001 Outstanding Photographer of the Year by the North American Nature Photography Association[3] and Outstanding Person of the Year 2000 by Photo Media magazine.[4]

Ketchum and his close friend master printer Michael Wilder pioneered Cibachrome color printmaking in the early 1970s. They were also among the first contemporary photographers to explore print scale. Ketchum's distinctive and very dimensional prints are in numerous collections, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York City), the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C.), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), to name a few. Significant archives of more than 100 images have been acquired by the Amon Carter Museum in Texas and the Huntington Library in Los Angeles, and substantial bodies of work can be found at the High Museum in Atlanta, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Akron Art Museum, the Stanford University Art Museum and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Cornell University.

As a curator and author, Ketchum has published with Harry N. Abrams and Viking Books, and has seven individual titles with Aperture. Prior to his emergence as a photographer, he was a widely recognized curator, discovering the Paul Outerbridge, Jr., estate, bringing recognition to the overlooked work of James Van Der Zee, and authoring American Photographers and the National Parks. After publication of his last title Ketchum began to concentrate on his own politically focused projects and publications such as The Tongass: Alaska's Vanishing Rain Forest.

In 2010 American Photo magazine named Ketchum as the first conservation photographer ever to receive the Master Series distinction.[5] In twenty years of publishing, American Photo has only designated four other photographers with the Master Series.

Ketchum has had over 400 one-man and group shows, and his photographs are in major museum collections throughout the world.[6] He is a founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.[7]

Selected awards and honors[edit]


  • Rohrbach, John and Robert Glenn Ketchum. Regarding the Land: Robert Glenn Ketchum and the Legacy of Eliot Porter. Amon Carter Museum, 2006.
  • Cahn, Robert and Robert Glenn Ketchum. American Photographers and the National Parks. Viking Press, Inc., New York, NY, 1981.
  • Ketchum, Robert Glenn. The Hudson River and the Highlands. Aperture, New York, NY, 1985.
  • Ketchum, Robert Glenn and Carey D. The Tongass: Alaska's Vanishing Rain Forest. Aperture, New York, NY, 1987.
  • Callison, Charles and Robert Glenn Ketchum. Overlooked in America: The Success and Failure of Federal Land Management. Aperture, New York, NY, 1991.
  • Ketchum, Robert Glenn, and John Perlin. The Legacy of Wildness: The Photographs of Robert Glenn Ketchum. Aperture, New York, NY, 1993.
  • various authors and photographers. Tatshenshini River Wild. Raincoast Books, Vancouver, BC, 1993.
  • Ketchum, Robert Glenn and Barry Lopez. Northwest Passage. Aperture, New York, NY, 1996.
  • Hampton, Bruce and Robert Glenn Ketchum. Rivers of Life: Southwest Alaska, The Last Great Salmon Fishery. Aperture, New York, NY, 2001.
  • Ketchum, Robert Glenn, and Bill Sherwonit. Wood-Tikchik: Alaska's Largest State Park. Aperture, New York, NY, 2003.
  • Ketchum, Robert Glenn. Wind River Winderness. Laguna Wilderness Press, Laguna Beach, CA, 2006.

Selected exhibitions[edit]

  • May 2010— Robert Glenn Ketchum: A Life in Photography, The G2 Gallery, Venice, CA
  • September 2008— Robert Glenn Ketchum: A Life Well Lived, 40 Years in the Making, The G2 Gallery, Venice, CA [8]



Further reading

  • Dowdey, Patrick (Editor), "Threads of Light: Chinese Embroidery From Suzhou and the Photography of Robert Glenn Ketchum"; with contributions by Robert Glenn Ketchum, Zhang Meifang, Jo Q. Hill; UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles, CA, 1999.
  • Foresta, Merry A., and Stephen Jay Gould, and Karal Ann Marling, "Between Home and Heaven: Contemporary American Landscape Photography", National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, New York, NY, 1991.
  • Grundberg, Andy, "The Land Through a Lens: Highlights of the Smithsonian American Art Museums", Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 2003.
  • Rohrbach, John, "Regarding the Land: Robert Glenn Ketchum and the Legacy of Eliot Porter", Amon Carter Museum of Art, Fort Worth, TX, 2006.
  • Yang, Rae (Essay), "China: Fifty Years Inside the People's Republic", Aperture, New York, NY, 1999.

External links[edit]