On Seeing Color!
As you see, this announces an exhibit that I am having at the Booth Museum of Western Art . This is the 2 nd  largest exhibit of my career, and will display 61-prints, from practically every significant project in which I was involved.

The museum worked closely with me on the premise of this exhibit, and many of you reading this will not make it to Georgia, so I want to describe the gallery flow to you, and convey the technology evolution as well. I began a modest letter exchange with the color photographer, Eliot Porter, while I was still an undergraduate at UCLA, studying with Robert Heinecken. Not only was I surprised, and encouraged, that he would write back, but I found his letters, brief, and yet, most informative. Between what he said, and what I learned by studying the images in his Sierra Club Exhibit Format book,  In Wildness is the Preservation of the World , my sense of color and how to record it was being developed.
photograph(s) © copyright, Eliot Porter, Courtesy The Amon Carter Museum
Eventually, in 1979, I even got to visit Eliot, at his home in Tesque, New Mexico, and to question him, while looking through his prints. Eliot generally printed perfect 8”x 10” dye transfers with several of the master printers living in Santa Fe, and there was drawer-upon-drawer to view. I also showed him my first Michael Wilder-printed Cibachromes, from the  “Order From Chaos,”  series.
from the series ORDER FROM CHAOS:
"The Voyage of Life/Homage to Thomas Cole”
In curating his work for this show, I re-lived that viewing moment. Of the 16 Porter prints I have included, I selected those to be exhibited from his life archive of over 9,000 images in the permanent collection of the Amon Carter Museum of Fort Worth, Texas. My intent was to identify some of his specific images that inspired me, and informed my maturing vision at that time.

The design of the exhibit leads you past a title panel, which includes a print from each of us. Inside, the first wall is comprised of several Porter’s, starting with his black & white prints, which then evolved into the use of color for his work with birds. The remainder of this 3-wall space intersperses my  “Order From Chaos,”  series, with other imagery from throughout Eliot's career, including prints from  The Place No One Knew: Glen Canyon on the Colorado , his publication that inspired me to realize my creative purpose as a political advocate.
from the series ORDER FROM CHAOS:
“La Couleur de  mon  Amour”
The very large gallery space of this exhibit is long, and consists of a rectangular central space, with a square gallery at either end, separated by floating/moveable walls. Within the first space, where Eliot’s, and my, work is displayed together, there is text about our history, and a discussion of the difference in our prints. The making of prints as technology changes, is woven throughout this exhibit.

Eliot printed dye transfer. In brief, this process involves 3-layers of different colored gels, that while wet, are placed atop of one another, creating a vibrant, full-color print. The water is squeegeed out as each layer is laid down. To make a great print requires a unique skill to squeegee, so that the film layers remain in perfect registration, otherwise, unwanted color outlines will appear in the final print. Having first worked with this process, I found the squeegee effort on a large print surface (30”x 40”) futile, because squeegeeing the colored gel which flexed, and stretched, made registration across the larger surface, nearly impossible.

As fate would have it, Cibachrome print paper had just been introduced, and, as a manufactured sheet, it did not incorporate the 3-layer process of dye transfer, so keeping larger prints in registration was not a problem. More importantly, when properly printed, Cibachrome has a color tonal range, easily as broad and brilliant, as dye transfer, and it is also a color-stabile material.

When I became interested in working with Cibachrome, I was lucky enough to meet, Michael Wilder, who was my peer, and just beginning to study the possibilities of this new material. In our life-long friendship, Michael has printed every body of work in my career, except for the most recent in southwest Alaska/Bristol Bay. Thus, the large, central gallery which comes next, pays homage to those prints. Using small selections of images in varying sizes from 20”x 24” to 30”x 40,” nearly every major project in my career is represented – Hudson River, Cuyahoga Valley, the Arctic, the Tongass, Rancho San Carlos, and Sundance. Michael has come to be known as a Cibachrome Master Printer, and this room is a showcase of some of his best work. Michael will also be flying in from Montana, to participate in our walk-around discussion, and the following auditorium interview on the day of our opening reception (see invitation above).
from the Aperture book, The Hudson River and the Highlands:
“The Indian Point Atomic Power Plant, Peekskill”

from the Aperture book, Overlooked in America: The Success and Failure of Federal Land Management:
“CVNRA 412”

from the Aperture book, Northwest Passage:
“Rebound Islands and Sea Ice, James Ross Strait”

from my Artist-In-Residence at Sundance Institute:
“Forest Heart”
In the span of my career, printing technology has changed again. Cibachrome was always very toxic, so Michael took great care to recycle the chemistry, but eventually the paper was taken off the market. The material that replaced it, Fuji Crystal Archive, has the same color-stable qualities, and color vibrancy as Cibachrome, but it is processed digitally – the “wet” darkroom is no longer needed. The paper is exposed, and processed by a machine, and the paper comes in rolls of 100ft., and as wide as 48,” thus allowing a much larger print than could be produced in most wet darkrooms.

Therefore, the final “square” room of this exhibit contains my Fuji Crystal Archive prints of southwest Alaska. Within these are 5-48”x 66” prints, 3 of which spread across one entire wall of this gallery in a kind of grand closing, gesture of color printmaking. These prints were made working with a color lab owned by Rich Seiling, where I printed with Master Printer, Michael Jones. Rich Seiling will also attend the opening reception and participate in the walk/talk around, and afternoon interview.
from the Aperture book, Rivers of Life: Southwest Alaska, The Last Great Salmon Fishery:
“Fall Frost at the River’s Edge”

from the national traveling exhibit, “Southwest Alaska: A World of Parks and Refuges at the Crossroads”
“Clearing Weather, Kvichak Mouth”
If you can visit this exhibit, please do, as there is nothing like viewing these images in person. The display is a print-lovers delight. But, if you cannot attend, I wanted you to have some sense of the gallery design, and the various undertones of purpose, because it is a great show that has been carefully assembled to cover historically important creativity across three generations of technology, the vision of two artists, and the evolution of the photographic image in politically purposeful advocacy.  
from the national traveling exhibit, “Southwest Alaska: A World of Parks and Refuges at the Crossroads”
“Storm Sunset, Bristol Bay”
I hope you have enjoyed my first 2020 post.
all photograph(s) © copyright, Robert Glenn Ketchum, 2020