The Inspirations: John Voelker and Robert Kelley

Using the pen name Robert Traver, John Voelker wrote eleven books inspired by his life and work in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. His fourth book, Anatomy of a Murder, was a best-selling novel whose film adaptation received seven Academy Award nominations.   His two collections of essays on trout fishing in the Upper Peninsula — Trout Madness and Trout Magic — are among the best fishing books ever published.

Robert Kelley worked as a photographer for Life magazine from 1947 until 1966.   His award-winning photography ranged from the first western photograph of the Soviet satellite Sputnik to several touching images from the 1963 civil rights movement.

The two men built a special friendship during their collaboration on an article for Life magazine, “Secret Delights of the Quest for Trout” and their subsequent book, Anatomy of a Fisherman (McGraw Hill, 1964). Mr. Kelley took over 1,400 photographs during his visit to the Upper Peninsula in early June 1961:  Life used eleven of those photos in their article; Kelley and Voelker used seventy-seven in their book.

Both men died in 1991:  Mr. Voelker in March;  Mr. Kelley in September.

John Voelker (photographed by Robert Kelly for Life Magazine)

Robert Kelley (Life Magazine)

Both of these photos are displayed through a link
to a photograph posted by Life Magazine.

[…] task, I devoted my attention to a lesser known — but equally ellusive — lost Utopia: John Voelker’s Camp […]

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