raymond ketcham

Announcing ART 2015 in Brewster NY

Announcing ART 2015 in Brewster NY

We are now in our fifth year of hosting the Artist Round Table (ART) and we are pleased to announce a very special location for this year’s conversation. Raymond Ketcham has been granted an artistic residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm in Brewster, New York where he will be hosting a four-day round table with artists and photographers.

SPACE, an interdisciplinary residency program, is celebrating its fifth season. It’s mission is “to support artists by providing a workshop space singular in its ability to reinvigorate the artists’ spirit and their work. SPACE is the answer to dormant creativity, giving artists time and space to do what they do best: create.” This 220 year-old working organic farm has been a second home to more than 575 artists who were working on 180 different projects, and included among them are Tony award winners, Guggenheim fellows and Pulitzer Prize finalists.

It is in this beautiful rustic New York country setting, enriched by artists who have come before us, that we are going to host our annual discussion for photographers on discovering their visual voice. We will talk about the 3 I’s (inspiration, imitation and influence) and we will address head-on the notion of fear in art. We discuss the difference between art and craft and between vision, voice and style. But it won’t be just photographers having this conversation because as always, we have invited artists who use other mediums of expression to join us.

This year because of the generosity of SPACE on Ryder Farm, we are adding one more day to the program. We will use this time to help create a roadmap for your journey to discover and use your own unique voice in photography. To do this, we are going to draw upon people who have previously attended ART. Their own experiences have informed all of us what works and where the challenges will lie for most of you.

If you are interested in going beyond making pretty pictures with your camera and would like to progress further along the road to being a visual artist, we invite you to send us your expression of interest.

Workshop Details

  • ART will be held from October 21 to 25, 2015 at SPACE on Ryder Farm in Brewster, New York (4 nights, 5 days).
  • Participants will share accommodations including bathrooms. Keep in mind this is a historic property dating back to 1795. It has all the amenities you will need but it is not the Ritz Carleton (thankfully!)
  • All meals are included.
  • Transportation to and from the train station in Brewster will be provided. Flights to New York and airport transfers are not included.
  • Cost US$1395.

Expression of Interest

If you would like to attend ART at SPACE on Ryder Farm, please send us an expression of your interest via email outlining what you hope to gain from being a part of the round table and what you would bring to the discussion. Please also include a link to a portfolio of your personal work i.e. no images created while on a workshop or photo tour. If these are not available online, please let us know so that we can make other arrangements to view your portfolio. We will be accepting expressions of interest until September 18, 2015 after which time, a final decision will be made regarding the list of attendees. Payment in full will be due upon acceptance to ART.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via emailTo learn more about previous roundtables, view posts hereTo see work from some ART Alumni, visit this page

If you’d like to learn more about SPACE at Ryder Farm, check out this TEDxBroadway video or follow their Instagram account.

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ART 2014

ART 2014

Last year we had a working round table that began with an intimate presentation and dinner with William Albert Allard in his second hometown of Missoula, Montana. Following that round table,  the conversation with Bill continued. We published an article on his life’s work in Issue 5 of Rear Curtain and talked about plans to do something together again.

We decided to hold a workshop in one of the great American cities–New Orleans, Louisiana. A small group of photographers gathered together with Bill  and Ray as instructors-in-residence to learn to use their artistic voice to address clichés in visual storytelling.  The workshop was structured around understanding how to use the photographic essay form to go beyond past and current portrayals of New Orleans. Each day participants spent time developing and photographing their New Orleans stories, and had one-on-one access to the instructors. They also attended daily review sessions where there was extensive discussion on the work.

Here are a couple of the photographic essays from this round table:

Dorothy Brown: Timeless Travel on the St. Charles Streetcar Line
Jacob Lucas: Music in New Orleans

Here’s a blog post from Ken Udle on his time in New Orleans: The Best Workshop is…

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ART 2013 Missoula

ART 2013 Missoula

In September, alumni from previous round tables were invited to participate in a workshop in Missoula with special guest William Albert Allard. We were treated to a very moving retrospective of Allard’s life work including his intimate story of the Hutterites in Montana. The rest of the weekend was sent working on our own stories which we brought with us to Missoula.

This was the first round table that was more of a workshop rather than a retreat where the conversation is the focus of our time together. We all stayed in one big house just outside of Missoula and took all our meals together. As we were all previous attendees, this was a special time to renew friendships in person and to bond over the projects we had been working on.

Sabrina Henry discussed her project A Night at the Market.
Dorothy Brown brought her work on Cajun Zydeco.
Ken Udle worked on his essay on the Rodeo.

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ART 2013 Port Townsend

ART 2013 Port Townsend

The third Artist Round Table was held in Port Townsend July 2013. Photographers from China, Seattle, Indiana, Vancouver and Port Townsend met together with sculptor Jan Hoy and writer Wes Cecil. The discussions were very passionate as participants shared their own interpretations of art and being an artist. We may not have all agreed but being transparent is an important aspect of ART. There were light moments too as people stepped outside into the “weeping garden” for a moment of quiet reflection and met in small groups at the end of the night for “debriefs”. No one gets to bed early at any ART!

Here is a wonderful idea one of the participants Franz Amador shared with us: 154 Rocks

And here is a blog post by Deborah Howard: ART: The Care and Feeding of Creativity

Plus a few thoughts from Edward Brydon who attended both 2013 round tables: In the Rear View Mirror

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ART 2012

ART 2012

The second Artist Round Table was held in Port Townsend at the end of June 2012. This time photographers from California, Indiana, New Mexico, Ohio, Seattle, Ottawa and Vancouver began a marathon conversation on their art and photographer together with several artists from PT. Some of the participants from the first Round Table knew what to expect while others who were there for the first time were in for a unique experience. Not for the faint of heart, these nine participants rolled up their sleeves and began the hard work of discovering how to create work with impact. Like the first ART, the comments show a transformation that can take place when photographers are willing to bear their souls to make work that matters.

“I spent the past three days in Port Townsend, WA. This small town on the Olympic Peninsula was home to a veritable meeting of the minds. For the three full days, pretty much sun-up to sun-down, myself, some old friends, and a half-dozen then-strangers, now all people I’m proud to call my friends, met up to talk about the process of creating art. We’re all photographers, but the conversation was by no means bounded by the limits of that particular craft….I have no idea what’s coming next… I need to spend the next week, month, however long it takes, wrapping my head around the last three days. I can’t wait to see just what is coming next.” – Jacob Lucas

So you might ask, did I learn anything this weekend…the short answer is this. I learned that sometimes what you leave behind for someone else is what matters. It might be a conversation with someone to help them understand something they were struggling with or something they might say to help me. But in the end, artist want to leave a trace. A trace of something behind in the world.” ~ Daniel Gregory

“We talked at length about vision and voice, we looked through books of images by legends in photography, and we viewed each other’s work. By the end of Friday I was pretty certain I didn’t belong in the room and I had nothing significant to say, photographically speaking. I’m so glad ART was a multi-day experience. I don’t think even Ira Glass could have persuaded me on Friday. My epiphany came on Saturday…” ~ Dorothy Brown

“Without hesitation I would apply again to attend an Artist Round Table (ART) hosted by the amazing folks at Rear Curtain in Port Townsend…Not everyone got the answers they were looking for but they sure left with a fresh set of ideas to consider” ~ Ken Udle

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ART 2011

ART 2011

In June 2011, Ray Ketcham held an Artist Round Table in Port Townsend with several photographers from around the US and Canada and two local artists, David Nobel and Wes Cecil. Three days of non-stop conversation on art and photography ensued right up until people stepped on to the curb at the SeaTac Airport. ART participants are still exploring the ideas and continuing on their journey to uncover their visual voice. Ray hopes the connections and friendships formed during this intense time together will remain a part of each of their lives.

Here are a few comments from the Round Table:

“From the beginning, I knew this was something special. Of course, I know Ray and Sabrina pretty well, and I also knew that they would do their best to make sure everyone came away with what they needed. Not what they needed to hear, necessarily, but what each of us needed to take the next step in this journey….All week, several folks—especially Ray—had been telling me that they thought I had been making “other people’s photographs.” In other words, my voice was being obscured by my influences. I was reinterpreting photographs I had seen others make, thinking they were my own. I was not making photographs that said what I wanted to say and that reflected what I wanted to do and what I wanted to give to the world.” ~ Stuart Sipahigil

“There were many discussions at the round table and other venues but all had a core subject -FINDING YOUR VOICE. In other words, are we truly expressing ourselves? or are we echoing what somebody else has taught us? We finally decided that we all have a voice and it is like a finger print and nobody else can copy it. We must be ourselves and let our photography speak for us, not for somebody else.” ~ Chris Plante

“I cannot think of any other way to end this post than to thank Ray, Anita, Ellie, Stuart, Matt and Chris for one of most inspiring conversations on art and photography I’ve ever had. You have no idea how much your willingness to share who you are, your fears and doubts, your dreams and aspirations, has deeply touched me and will be one of the defining moments in my journey.” ~ Sabrina Henry

“One of the discoveries at A.R.T., like it was for the other participants, was the sense of community we found with each other. Being together with other like-minded creatives and sharing our dreams, doubts, and being openly vulnerable in a safe and intimate space, was a liberating experience. This environment helped us all dig deeper into our craft – much deeper than we’d ever explored previously. Each of us had our own unique breakthroughs, insights, and personal revelations along very different paths leading up to them. It was both humbling and inspiring to witness and be a part of.” ~ Ellie Ericson

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