What is your name? Where are you from?
My name is Raymond Ketcham. I’m from Port Townsend, Washington.
Tell me about the project that you brought to SPACE.
The Artist Round Table was born five years ago out of collaboration between Sabrina Henry and myself to answer some of those questions and provide some of the framework and creative guidelines for folks who are just beginning to discover that there is more to photography than what they’ve seen, that the whole world of art is different than just pointing at stuff. One of the semi-incoherent, babbling essays that I’ve done is “Art is not pointing, Art is a conversation.” Some of the guidelines, some of the work that we’ve done, is based off of that, and is sort of a response to books like Art & Fear or View From The Studio Door. What came out of these conversations was the difference between inspiration, imitation and influence, and how that applies to the arts, and photography in particular because of its ubiquitousness.
It is really about finding your visual voice. The program is a round table, it’s not a lecture or a workshop, everybody participates. We bring in poets, writers, sculptors, essayists, book publishers, art directors, dancers, all so that visual voice and that creativity is demonstrated as a common force among all artists.
How has this particular week looked for the program?
Much like writing prompts, there has been a series of subjects. This whole process this time has had a little bit of “back to basics”, particularly using the same three questions that occurred to David Hurn and Bill Jay in their book, On Being A Photographer, the same three that occurred to Ben Shahn in his book on The Shape of Content, which I really am pushing this time because it is that next step, it’s beyond the small words, we’re onto the words with more syllables. The three questions are: what do I photograph? How do I photograph it? How do I make a living or live with the photography?
Each session has had one of these beginning topics that start the discussion, with each person bringing their experiences and ideas, as well as the questions we ask to get there. It goes from there into in depth solutions, or sometimes just more questions, which everybody gets to answer in their own lives and respective works.
If you were reincarnated as a farm animal, which farm animal would you be and why?
I would be the overseer’s proud racehorse. I grew up on a ranch, I know how much work the rest of the animals have to do, and I’m too damn old for that.