In the foreground is one of the embroideries Ketchum created in collaboration with the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute. Ketchum notes that this is, “One of the largest 2-sided embroidery panels ever created, featuring the untraditional use of two stitches that were never previously combined. The detailed leaves are done in the most laborious ‘Suzhou fine style,’ and all the other background work is done in the ‘random’ stitch. There more than 40 dye colors used, and the work took several embroiderers 3-years.”

If you’re in the greater Los Angeles area, there’s still time left to see the exhibit “Terra Firma: A Commentary on Land” at the Manhattan Beach Art Center, running now through October 14.

This intimate exhibit is limited to a small collection of pieces, selected to offer an introduction to both his traditional photography as well as more recent projects exploring new materials and interpretive approaches.

A multi-panel translation of one of Ketchum’s Alaska images, woven on a loom custom built for the project. “To create this loom weaving, the Chinese built the largest and most complex loom ever assembled, having 3,000 lines of warp thread and using four shuttles,” Ketchum explains. “There are more than 30 dye colors used in the thread, and some of the thread is actually gold.”

Readers of Outdoor Photographer will most likely recognize Ketchum for his conservation photography projects in Alaska and the Hudson River, but no less impressive are his collaborations with China’s Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute (SERI) to transform his photographs into astoundingly intricate embroideries, as well as his more recent explorations in photographic manipulation and interpretation in Photoshop.

“Choose Joy”, a six-panel evolution of a single image through experimentation and development in Photoshop.

For more information on the Terra Firma exhibit, visit the Manhattan Beach Art Center website. It’s located at 1560 Manhattan Beach Blvd. in Manhattan Beach, California, and open Wednesday through Sunday.

Ketchum’s “MANDALAC GARDENS” series combines the concept of a traditional Buddhist mandala with selections from Ketchum’s nature photography reinterpreted through radial symmetry and the ability to print directly onto custom-cut metal panels.

In addition to his portfolio website, Ketchum also maintains an active blog. For more on his conservation photography as well as his other fine art projects, visit


Alaskan Legacy

How Robert Glenn Ketchum became a leading advocate for the preservation of Southwest Alaska’s ecosystems and economies. Read now.

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