Robert Gregory Hahn is popularly known by the sobriquet “Rio,” given to him during his Amazon River explorations. Rio has applied his talents in a number of fields, including exploration, photography, business, non-profits, filmmaking, painting, acting, ethnopharmacology, ecology, sailing, organic farming, and as an Independent Associate/Director at Legal Shield. His website highlights and references his work in a number of these fields, and offers an overall view of his endeavors. Rio is an engaging storyteller and dynamic speaker whose lectures, accompanied by his stunning photographs, may be booked by contacting him directly. His photographs and paintings are available for purchase, and he accepts commissions for both, and for film and video projects.

Rio’s life of exploration began at the age of ten with a two-week, 250-mile wilderness canoe trip, in the area of Hudson Bay, Canada. His artistic career began as a photographer when he was big enough to hold a camera. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, he developed a keen eye for people and the natural environment, and a thirst to explore the world beyond the flat mid-western landscape of his youth.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; a founding and life member of the Rainforest Club; a Fellow, two-term Director, and past Ombudsman of The Explorers Club, as well as serving three terms as Chairman of the San Diego Chapter. He is the recipient of five Explorers Club Flags, a licensed sea captain, an open water diver, a founding member of the International Society of Ethnopharmacology, and was awarded the title of High Chief of Western Samoa.

Rio’s explorations have brought him into intimate contact with numerous cultures, many of who have become the subjects of, and influences for, his artistic and scientific work. As well, these contacts have opened to him inner worlds of experience usually hidden from Western explorers. He has been initiated into sacred rituals ranging from those of Amazonian shamans to ancient Hindu religious practices of Nepal and India.

“Exploration of the outer and inner worlds of man has been a continual theme of my career. Each has provided nourishment and inspiration for the other, and I find in my artistic expression and scientific researches a communication between the two.”

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Rio studied in the Annenberg Graduate School of Communications with the ground breaking human behaviorists Irving Goffman and Ray Birdwhistle. He then became an apprentice-in-residence to the renowned American photographer, Minor White, Chair of the Dept. of Photography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rio assisted with White’s courses, exhibited with White at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and worked with White on his concept of consciousness in photography. Rio is currently working on a book, Mind Mirrors, Minor White and the Art of Seeing, with the cooperation of the curator of White’s archive at the Princeton Art Museum, which will present White’s concepts and photographic exercises to the public for the first time.

For nearly 50 years, Rio and his business associates have engaged in a number of innovative ecologically oriented entrepreneurial projects on five continents. These projects have been carried out in a number of different ecological regions, interfacing with numerous cultures, and include both for-profit and not-for-profit endeavors.

Rio is a co-founder, Fellow, Director, and past president of the Institute of Ecotechnics, whose research led to the Biosphere 2 Project, which he co-initiated. In the mid-1970’s he and his friends designed and built the research vessel Heraclitus, an 82-foot, 120 ton, ferro-cement Chinese junk. In the early 1980’s Rio organized and was scientific chief for an Amazon expedition aboard the junk, following which he led a 40-month multidisciplinary circumnavigation expedition aboard the Heraclitus, during which a series of cultural documentary films, Journeys To Other Worlds, were produced.


Copyright 2014 Robert 'Rio' Hahn. All Rights Reserved.