In a technically driven world with advanced digital cameras and pixels, it’s very unique to find an artist who dwells solely in the analog medium. Yes, there are many that still shoot film but this man’s work is captured a little different than with just a medium format or 35mm camera. Due to some incredible business growth and even unfortunate events that life sometimes brings, this talented photographer has not only found beauty in the landscape of Florida, he has changed the lives around him with his humanitarian efforts, his large format cameras and the heartbeat and soul behind his imagery. Allow us to take you to a timeless place as we introduce you to fine art photographer, Mr. Clyde Butcher, an award winning photographer that’s recognized as one of the foremost landscape photographic artists in America today.
Butcher graduated with a degree in architecture. But after years of trying to develop his drawing, it was then that he discovered his inability to draw and decided to utilize photography instead. Unable to afford a store-bought camera, he made himself a crude, but dependable pinhole camera that was the beginning of his photographic career.
After he and his wife Niki were married and became inspired by Ansel Adams at an exhibit at Yosemite, he then began his journey of black and white photographs. It was then in 1971 that his photographs were sold as wall decor to department stores such as Montgomery-Wards, J.C. Penny’s, and Sears. His business became a multi-million dollar empire, employing more than 200 employees. But the stress of the business was too much. He sold his empire and constructed a sailboat to Florida where he fell in love with the swamps of the south.
In 1986, Clyde’s 17-year old son Ted was killed by a drunk driver. Clyde found solace in the wilderness of the Big Cypress National Preserve, where the mysterious, spiritual experience of being close to nature helped to restore his soul. Resolving to relinquish his ties to color photography, he destroyed his color work and vowed to use only black and white film. He purchased an 8″x10″ view camera and enlarger and began his journey of the beautiful imagery you see today.
Butcher has been honored by the state of Florida with the highest award that can be given to a private citizen: the Artist Hall of Fame Award. He was also privileged to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Nature Photography Association and given the honor of being Humanitarian of the Year for 2005 from the International University. Additionally he received the 2011 Distinguished Artist Award from the Florida House in Washington, D.C. and the Sierra Club has given him the Ansel Adams Conservation Award, which is given to a photographer who shows excellence in photography and has contributed to the public awareness of the environment. And if that’s not enough, Butcher has completed six Public Broadcasting programs on the environment of Florida, three of them award-winning documentaries.
*Photofocus presents the Photographer of the Week as a case study in great photography
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