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Friday, January 23, 2015

Weekly Post: CHINA Travels Since 1985 by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Traveling in CHINA Since 1985 by Robert Glenn Ketchum

During the reign of Mao (1949-1976), China was a closed country. China in the 1980’s was 80% rural, with no outside visitors, particularly from the West. When China opened to travelers, the Chinese government placed severe limitations on who was allowed to enter the country. Earthwatch was one organization that allowed foreigners to visit China without going through too much red-tape. These photographs are a first glimpse into China in the mid-1980’s by world-renowned Conservation Photographer Robert Glenn Ketchum. 




Friday, January 23, 2015
Traveling in China Since 1985, #115
CHINA #115:   The day was getting late, the valleys were slipping into deepening shade, and we were finally on our way down along the correct #staircase, and we were running behind schedule. So, in fact, we ran! As I previously described, the #stairs pound your knees with every bend. When you run, skipping from stair lip to stair lip, your knees hardly bend at all, so we were off. On the lower 1/3 of the #mountain, young girls whose families grow #tea in the foothills, bring the fresh picked prime tea leaves UP the steps in the early morning, selling their product to people on the stairs. By late afternoon, most have sold-out and they gather together for the stair descent home. These girls also run the stairs. We were curious to them immediately, because no one else does this. Four girls began to follow us at a short distance. They were dressed in traditional colorful "farming" clothes of the region and were wearing sandal-like shoes. They were especially interested in our shoes, daypacks, and my #cameras. At one point Carey spoke to them and let them touch her gear, however they were WAY TOO SHY to let me take their picture. After the encounter, on the next stair run, one of the girls came up next to me, running at my speed, step-for-step, and began whistling. The tune was simple, pretty, and also a rhythm for the stairs. I smiled and copied her, and we ran on in song-step together for another flight or two, then she signaled her friends and they just blew by us, heading down toward home in a blur of precision footwork.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #China @Earthwatch_org

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Weekly Post: SHANGHAI, OZ of the Orient by Robert Glenn Ketchum

SHANGHAI, OZ of the Orient by Robert Glenn Ketchum

During the reign of Mao (1949-1976), China was a closed country. China in the 1980’s was 80% rural, with no outside visitors, particularly from the West. When China opened to travelers, the Chinese government placed severe limitations on who was allowed to enter the country. These photographs are a continuation of other ongoing blog threads of the first glimpses into China in the mid-1980’s by world-renowned Conservation Photographer Robert Glenn Ketchum.


Friday, January 23, 2015
SHANGHAI, OZ of the Orient, #48
SHANGHAI, OZ of the Orient #48 - 1985 to the Present:  Essentially, from the 53rd floor up (all the floors incorporating the #GrandHyatt hotel) the #Jin Mao tower is "hollow." The reception lobby, restaurants, bars, elevator towers, and guest rooms all circle the core of the building, which is a huge 40+-story atrium. Thus all windows have a view. On the 54th floor, forming the floor of the atrium is the cocktail lounge. You can be sure I have a drink in my hand at this point! The lounge is large and comfortable, busy with people and waitstaff at all hours. And in the evening there is a large stage and live music. In keeping with the "grand" of all of this, this room is "over-sized" with spectacular plantings and flower arrangements, and a huge painted mural as the backdrop to the stage. This scale becomes insignificant, however, when you look up...
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #China #Shanghai

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Weekly Post: SUZHOU, 1985-to the present by RobertGlennKetchum

Welcome to Suzhou, 1985 - to the present by Robert Glenn Ketchum

During the reign of Mao (1949-1976), China was a closed country. China in the 1980’s was 80% rural, with no outside visitors, particularly from the West. When China opened to travelers, the Chinese government placed severe limitations on who was allowed to enter the country. These photographs are a continuation of other ongoing blog threads of the first glimpses into China in the mid-1980’s by world-renowned Conservation Photographer 
Robert Glenn Ketchum.


Thursday, January 22, 2015
Welcome to Suzhou, 1985 - to the present, #49
Suzhou #49:   As I was working on many different #embroideries simultaneously at the institute, my visits to #Suzhou in the '80's and early '90's were sometimes close together. Even so, the pace of change was rather dramatic. Because I spent considerable time walking around the canal and community paths, I "knew" Suzhou reasonably well. During my return trips, my walks would bring me to neighborhoods with which I was familiar from previous visits, and indeed, the most recent visit just moths before, and they would be ENTIRELY gone! Sometimes even the canal was altered or had even disappeared. It was breathtaking to me. Certainly I had seen demolition and reconstruction in the U.S., yet NEVER at the scale and scope of this. It made me realize that every moment I was on the street with my #camera, I was a privileged witness to an epic transformation.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #China #Suzhou

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Weekly Post: SILK ROAD - Embroideries of Robert Glenn Ketchum

Silk Road - Embroideries of Robert Glenn Ketchum

The city of Suzhou, China, produced China's most beautiful silk and silk embroidery practiced by generational families for 3,000 years. My purpose in going to China starting in the mid-1980's was to turn my photographs into textiles, and this is my story. ~Robert Glenn Ketchum




Thursday, January 22, 2015
Silk Road - Embroideries #105
SILK ROAD #105:   The principle #embroiderer on this was Huang Chunya, who had worked with me numerous times on THE most complex pieces. In particular, "2:10 P.M." (posts #50-55) which was the most-layered, most stitch-diverse #embroidery we had ever done.  "2:10 P.M." was sewn in hundreds of layers, starting with the most distant #background point, and "building" the #stitches upon one another as they "moved" to the #foreground. Here in "Trees and Branches with Heavy Snow", Huang Chunya and her assistant, Guan Peiying, similarly spent 1-1/2 years "building" the stitches that would render the branches, pine needles and tree trunk. She could clearly see the opportunity to have an even greater #dimensional effect in this piece because we were using the more recent technique of allowing the #matrix to serve as un-embroidered negative space. As there was no distant background point to start the layering, the women observed the needles and branches beneath the snow cover would be green and dark. The "snow" was then built on top of that, first with random stitching, and then in selected areas with looping and bundle stitches. Numerous subtle shades of blue, silver, gray, and green thread were dyed for this, and at least ten different stitches were incorporated.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Embroidery @WesCFA @RSSDesigns
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Weekly Post: TATSHESHINI: Saving a River Wild

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild by Robert Glenn Ketchum

In 1990, I was invited on a 10-day float down the Tatshenshini, a huge river system flowing from Western Canada to the Pacific Ocean that literally divides two of North America's largest national parks, Canada's Kluane National Park and Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park. A gold mine was being proposed mid-river. I broke the story in LIFE magazine. There were many other articles and a book. The mine was never developed and the river is now a wilderness corridor. This is a conservation SUCCESS story!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #33
TATSHENSHINI:  Saving a River Wild, #33:   From our viewpoint, looking up the #WalkerGlacier valley revealed a world that disappeared beneath the #ice. ACTUALLY, there used to be much more ice here. and this #glacier is in retreat, so technically we are viewing a world EMERGING from beneath the ice. Either way, it appeared cold and not particularly inviting. An ever-cooler afternoon breeze was also flowing over the ice mass, and how you shielded yourself from it made all the difference in the world to your comfort zone. Our knoll was perfectly situated as its slope and the scrub brush behind us served as our windbreak. And the view we faced was not only grand, BUT directly into the sun. Cheers, another beer, and then....
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Tatshenshini @glacierbaynps @Life @Wilderness #WeAreTheWild @nature_AK

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Weekly Post: NO PEBBLE MINE: Pictures from Ground Zero by RobertGlennKetchum

NO PEBBLE MINE Pictures from Ground Zero 
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Thank you to the EPA for recognizing the value of the Bristol Bay fishery. 
NOW, what can we do to protect this habitat further? 
Mission: To protect the national parks and national refuges of southwest Alaska, 
and the Bristol Bay fishery from the development of the Pebble mine, and other commercial risks.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015 

NO PEBBLE MINE #123, Pictures from Ground Zero:
NO PEBBLE MINE #123, Pictures from Ground Zero:   Here is another amazing visual created on the cinder scree slopes. Migrating caribou spread out across the landscape as they graze and they dine on moss and lichens that grow well on the volcanic debris, so they often leave the valleys and forage the scree. Mothers with calves and small groups of adults follow in each others footsteps. Wolves and bear also track the migration as well, so you are looking at well-used game trails and they trace across most of the foothills in the park.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd @NRDC @OrvisFlyFishing #NoPebbleMine #LittleBearProd

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Weekly Post: TRACY ARM WILDERNESS - An Alaskan Kayak "Trip" Through Time by Robert Glenn Ketchum

TRACY ARM WILDERNESS - An Alaskan Kayak "Trip" Through Time by Robert Glenn Ketchum

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act (#Wilderness), this new blog focuses on a wilderness area in the #Tongass rainforest of southeast Alaska. This is the tale of a 10-day kayak trip - a testament to WHY wilderness is important, by world-renowned Conservation Photographer Robert Glenn Ketchum.





Tuesday, January 20, 2015
TRACY ARM Wilderness - An Alaskan Kayak "Trip" Through Time, #22
TRACY ARM Wilderness - An Alaskan Kayak "Trip" Through Time, #22:  The sound of cascading #water continued to increase throughout the morning as the #weather closed around us and it rained REALLY hard. We were headed about 6-miles further up the arm to a place on the map identified as #BlackBearBeach (more about that later). For the moment we were part of an amazing adventure. Receding #canyons to where? #Summits, walls, and #waterfalls were all disappearing and re-appearing in the #fog and #weather squalls, floating in an abstract space like a #Chinese scroll painting. And we were three puny humans in funny little boats riding one of the world’s largest #tidal surges into the heart of some of the tallest coastal #mountains in the world! This was a pretty cosmic paddle... and we weren't even there 24-hours yet!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd @Wilderness #Wilderness #Tongass

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekly Post: THE HUDSON RIVER AND THE HIGHLANDS by Robert Glenn Ketchum

by Robert Glenn Ketchum


This is the story of my first major commission and book, THE HUDSON RIVER AND THE HIGHLANDS (Aperture, 1985). In 1984, #StephenShore, #WilliamClift, and I received a 2-year commission from the Lila Acheson Wallace Fund to photograph the #HudsonRiverValley. This blog tells the tale of the book, with many photos not seen before. Enjoy!



Monday, January 19, 2015

THE HUDSON RIVER AND THE HIGHLANDS #120:
HUDSON RIVER #120:   Previously I quoted the painter #AndrewWyeth (post #115) where he spoke of the winter #landscape, suggesting that “something waits beneath it.” After the rain and cold, and the ice and snow, the world changes quickly when warmth returns. Something waiting, indeed! As one of my first important commissions, the #HudsonRiver project taught me the value of committing to be in the subject #location for an extended period of time. Time allows you to really see the daily landscape, and to appreciate the nuances of passing conditions. Not that there is much “nuance” between my last post (#119) and this one. It is more like an explosion!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd @Wallacefdn @Aperturefnd @PentaxOnline
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Pebble Mine 2014 Year in Review: "And Then There Were Lawyers . . . ."

Pebble Mine 2014 Year in Review: "And Then There Were Lawyers . . . ."
by Joel Reynolds
Western Director and Senior attorney, NRDC, Los Angeles
published in Huffington Post, Posted: 01/05/2015 1:58 pm EST

When someday the story of the Pebble Mine is told, 2014 may be best remembered as the year when all that remained of the once formidable Pebble Partnership was a bunch of lawyers for hire. By the end of 2014, all of the mining giants and their funding - Mitsubishi, Anglo American, and Rio Tinto - were gone, leaving only Northern Dynasty Minerals to keep the reckless vision of the Pebble Mine alive. The Partnership's new CEO is a lawyer from the Washington, D.C. law firm of Steptoe and Johnson, and mining activities have ground to a halt.

By the end of 2014, Pebble's public face had become lawsuits and lobbying against EPA, targeting its authority to do what Alaskans had petitioned it to do - i.e., to protect Alaska's wild salmon fishery. Three lawsuits had been filed against the agency, and legislation to constrain the agency's review of the Pebble project had been introduced in both houses of Congress.

Once again, permit applications - promised by Pebble for years - were never filed.

Some of the highlights of 2014:
  • In January, after a four-year public process, EPA issued its final Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment - the product of comprehensive scientific study, multiple peer reviews, and extensive public participation - and the agency confirmed the opponents' worst fears about the devastation the project would cause. Citing EPA's findings, Alaska Senator Mark Begich promptly announced his opposition to the Pebble Mine - "wrong mine, wrong place."
  • In February, EPA formally initiated the Clean Water Act process to prohibit or restrict the Pebble Mine - called "404(c)" -- requested in 2010 by Alaskan tribes and, in the years since, supported overwhelmingly by the public in repeated public comment periods.
  • In April, instead of taking over the Pebble Mine as Northern Dynasty Minerals had hoped, mining giant Rio Tinto announced that it was ending its participation in the project. It donated its 19 percent interest in the project - shares in Northern Dynasty -- to two Alaskan charities, which promptly began selling the shares. The following week, NRDC and a coalition of Alaskan leaders went to London to convey thanks and congratulations personally to Rio Tinto's board and CEO at the annual general meeting.
Nunamta Aulukestai's Kim Williams, Rio CEO Sam Walsh, NRDC's Joel Reynolds, Rio Chair Jan de Plessis, Rio Director of Copper Jean-Sebastien Jacques, Yupik Elder Bobby Andrew
  • In May, Pebble filed the first of its three lawsuits against EPA, alleging violations of the Clean Water Act and various state statutes. Four months later, the lawsuit was dismissed.
  • In July, EPA formally announced for public comment specific restrictions on development of the Pebble Mine, foreclosing the massive project proposed by the Pebble Partnership but leaving the door open for Pebble to file a permit application for a vastly smaller project - if it chooses to do so.
  • In August, within three days of each other, two mine containment dams failed - belying assurances that modern mining technology would prevent it. First, on August 4 in British Columbia, at Imperial Metal's Mount Polley mine, a dam designed by the same company hired to design the massive containment dams at Pebble suffered a total failure, releasing billions of gallons of contaminated mining waste into the salmon-rich Frazier River system. Three days later, 1200 miles south at the Buena Vista mine in Sonora, Mexico, 10 million gallons of mining acid spilled into the Bacanuchi River, shutting down drinking water supplies, closing schools, and affecting an estimated 800,000 people.
  • In early September, a group of Republican members of Congress from the lower 48 states - led by Senator David Vitter of Louisiana and Rep. Darrel Issa of San Diego County - initiated an investigation of NRDC, charging "collusion" with EPA and specifically alleging, among other things, that "NRDC significantly shaped EPA's decision to severely limit the operation of the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act." Although a transparent attack on the environmental advocacy that NRDC was created to do, NRDC has responded, and is continuing to respond, to the Members' requests for documents.
  • Also in early September, Pebble filed a second lawsuit against EPA, alleging violations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The litigation is still pending.
  • By the close of the public comment period on September 19, over 625,000 public comments were received by EPA in support of its proposed restrictions on the Pebble Mine. Less than 5,000 comments opposed.
  • In late September, Pebble's first lawsuit was dismissed as premature, and Pebble filed an appeal.
  • In October, Pebble filed a third lawsuit against EPA, alleging violations of the Freedom of Information Act. The litigation is still pending. 
  • In November, a state-wide initiative in Alaska called "Bristol Bay Forever" - to protect the Bristol Bay watershed from large-scale mining harmful to Alaska's wild salmon - passed overwhelmingly with 65 percent of the vote. Although not a total prohibition against the Pebble Mine or any other potential mine -- if the Alaska legislature finds that a proposed mine poses no risk of harm to salmon -- the initiative was widely viewed as a referendum on the Pebble project, and the lopsided outcome reflects broad opposition to the project across the state.
  • In late November, a federal court in Alaska issued a temporary injunction barring EPA from proceeding with its 404(c) process pending litigation of an alleged violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act in connection with the Pebble project.  
  • In December, calling it "one of America's greatest natural resources, and a massive economic engine not only for Alaska but for America," President Obama put Bristol Bay off -limits permanently to oil and gas drilling. This decision is a high level recognition of the very natural resource values that would be put at risk by the Pebble Mine. As the Los Angeles Times observed in an editorial, "there is not much point in protecting the bay without protecting the rivers that feed it. That's why state and federal regulators should say no to the Pebble Mine."
President Obama announcing permanent protections for Bristol Bay from oil and gas development. WhiteHouse.gov/YouTube

  • On December 31, Northern Dynasty Minerals' shares closed at 38 cents a share, down from over $21.00 per share in 2011.
Locally and nationally, the opposition to the Pebble Mine has continued unabated -- and intensified -- in 2014. But no one should expect the project to go quietly into the night as long as Pebble can pay its lawyers to subvert the will of the people of Alaska.

Stay the course. Take action - again -- to stop the Pebble Mine.

photograph © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2015

@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd @NRDC


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