Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Acclaimed Artist Displays His Vision of Florida's Landscape; Many of Clyde Butcher's Photographs Were Taken in Northeast Florida

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Acclaimed Artist Displays His Vision of Florida's Landscape; Many of Clyde Butcher's Photographs Were Taken in Northeast Florida

Article excerpt

Byline: terry brown

With a focus on Florida for more than 35 years, Clyde Butcher has traipsed through swamps, prairies and waterways, forever capturing the beauty of the state's landscape.

Working with large-format cameras, the artist has garnered a worldwide audience with his black and white photography. On Thursday, Butcher will open an exhibit of his photography at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas Reserve Education Center in Ponte Vedra Beach. It will include the award-winning documentary, Living Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida, which chronicles the making of the series of photographs from around the state.

Butcher is considered one of the most noted black and white landscape photographers of the day, occupying the same photographic circles as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.

"Obviously Clyde Butcher has been a tremendous supporter of aquatic preserves in Florida," said Ken Berk, director of the GTM Reserve. "It is certainly an honor to have an artist of his caliber, experience and expertise on display here at the Education Center."

Because large-format cameras capture elaborate detail, Butcher is able to print his photographs in a very large scale, with matted pictures up to almost 6 feet.

"I really study the scene I am photographing so I get a real sense of the landscape, and a feel for all that is going on," Butcher said by phone from his Big Cypress Studio in Ochopee, located in the Everglades. "I hope I am able to draw the person viewing a photograph into the scene.

"My main goal is education. If people enjoy my work and it inspires them to explore and help preserve Florida, then hopefully I've accomplished something."

The accompanying documentary shows the bearded, burly man standing sometimes waste deep in water to get his images. The film takes viewers into some of the state's most pristine aquatic preserves.

Butcher is a native of Newport Beach, Calif., who made his way to Florida via an interest in sailing and from images he had seen on television.

"I didn't have any idea what Florida was about," Butcher said. "I watched television shows that were done in Florida like Flipper and Sea Hunt and heard about some good sailing, and that is how I got here. …

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