Ketchum, Robert Glenn

American (1947-)

Robert Glenn Ketchum (1947) credits his life-long friend, photographer Eliot Porter, with introducing him to the idea that images could bring about social change. Certainly Ketchum has taken the idea and run with it. He first studied with Edmund Teske, working solely in the black and white medium, capturing images of rock bands such as The Doors, Cream and Traffic. Ketchum’s post-graduate work at the California Institute for the Arts introduced him to the use of color, inviting him into a fascination with the natural world and into increasing activism on behalf of the environment.

35 years later, the list of Ketchum’s accomplishments is impressive. After pioneering Cibachrome color printmaking in the early 70s, Ketchum captured many images that bolstered environmental champions’ lobbying efforts in front of lawmakers. As a result, Ketchum has been instrumental in preserving the natural world. He helped pass legislation that protected more than one million acres of Alaskan rainforest. His photographs guarded a whale nursery in Baja from Mitsubishi industrial development. Recently, he’s aided establishment of a Hudson River Greenway, stretching from the Adirondacks to Manhattan, one of the largest natural expanses connected to a major city.