Nov 9, 2006


the museum held a lecture with Robert Glenn Ketchum last night- teamed with a show of prints form his recent Wood-Tikchik project.

the large color prints depict a part of alaska that i've haven’t experienced. his attempt to capture the vastness, and diversity, of this enormous region is successful, although oddly i felt less impact with the larger photos in his collection. the 24x30 size worked very well for me, but I felt something was lost in the 48x65. even with the size, or in spite of it, i feel the books are more successful than the prints.

much more history presented than I expected, which was pleasant surprise. slides of little know photographers that first toiled with 20x24 glass plates in Yosemite- striking images. The requisite Adams and Weston anecdotes, but a couple of landscapes of Weston’s that I had not seen before. I was surprised to see images of Friedlander, Meyerwitz, and Stephen Shore in his time line of influences- not photographers I would immediately think of when looking at Ketchum’s work- but interesting to consider the connection.

Ketchum is an articulate speaker whom knows his place in his, in many ways self constructed, world of activist/conservationist photography. he’s got an outsider view of places like the Tongass and the Wood Tikchik, and decidedly vain in his approach, but his viewpoints were taken well by those that attended.

he promotes photography as action- images designed to solve a problem. romantic, if not a little self constructed. i'm on the fence.

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