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Clyde Butcher

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Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1942, Butcher led a nomadic lifestyle with his parents until attending California Polytechnic University in 1960, where he studied architecture. In 1963, he was impressed by Ansel Adams' work on display at Yosemite National Park. He married his wife, Niki, in 1964. After college, Butcher had began a career in architecture, and was responsible for a portion of the design of the TransAmerica Tower in San Francisco, California. Butcher tried to present his work in architecture by filming small models of people using the facility. By 1970, he left architecture for landscape photography. The Butchers moved to Florida in the mid-1980s and purchased Orchid Isle, a former orchid farm in the middle of the Big Cypress National Preserve. When their son Ted was killed by a drunk driver, Clyde retreated to the wilderness for solace and restoration. He put aside his color photography and became a black-and-white landscape photographer. Butcher's award winning black and white photographs explore his personal relationship with the environment. For more than thirty-five years he has been preserving, on film, the untouched areas of landscape. His images are created using an 8"x10", 11"x14" or 12"x20" view camera. The large format camera allows him to express on film, the elaborate detail and textures that distinguish the landscape. The images range in size from 11"x14" to 5'x7'. They are printed on fiber base paper, and selenium toned for archival preservation. "Wilderness, to me, is a spiritual necessity. When my son was killed by a drunk driver it was to the wilderness that I fled in hopes of regaining my serenity and equilibrium. The mysterious spiritual experience of being close to nature helped restore my soul. It was during that time, I discovered the intimate beauty of the environment. My experience reinforced my sense of dedication to use my art form of photography as an inspiration for others to work together to save nature's places of spiritual sanctuary for future generations." -Clyde Butcher