With Mystical Black and White Landscapes, Clyde Butcher Aims to Preserve and Restore Florida's Everglades (Photos)

© Clyde Butcher
Gaskin Bay in The Everglades.

”Clouds are our mountains,” says photographer Clyde Butcher about the skyline of the Everglades' “river of grass.”

The photographer has been artfully capturing the untouched places of a vanishing Florida landscape for more than two decades. The crisp exquisite details of each fern, palm frond, bromeliad, blade of sawgrass and mangrove serve as inspiration to help save the endangered ecosystem, as well as directly contribute to fund the efforts.

© Clyde Butcher
Seven Cabbage Cut in The Everglades

From the mysterious ghost orchid to the eerie Badlands, striking images of Yosemite to the redwoods, Butcher has turned his camera on nature in a new exhibition, “Visions of America” at the G2 Gallery in Venice, CA.

Based in Ochopee in the heart of the Everglades' Big Cypress National Preserve, between Miami and Naples, this sanctuary is where he conducts annual “Muck Abouts” and “Swamp Walks” (coming up in February) to provide an intimate experience of the wild backwaters with naturalists and create awareness for the imperiled and primeval environment.

Drained and paved over for decades and polluted by pesticides from agribusiness, the fragile Glades are now also threatened by fires, acid rain, invasive species from non-native plants to alligator-eating pythons dumped by former "pet" owners.

© Clyde Butcher
Clyde Butcher portrait in Big Cypress Preserve.

Butcher has won conservation awards form the Nature Conservancy and Sierra Club for his work on the restoration of The Glades' and Aquatic Preserves of Florida. The aesthetic comparisons to Ansel Adams are obvious, yet his relationship with the environment is personal.

And times have changed. Now it’s about preserving images of wildly changing landscapes. The Everglades' wetlands is 60 miles wide and over 100 miles long, a 4,000-square-mile complex of cypress swamps, marshes, mangroves, islands, and wet prairies. “We can't wait until the Everglades is gone before we solve the problems," he said.

Photo Purchases Support the Environment

The exhibit of 30 of Butcher's signed, limited-edition black-and-white photographs went on display at the G2 Gallery, an art space that focuses on nature and wildlife photography, exclusively presenting exhibitions with eco-conscious themes. Other shows spotlighted the Canadian Boreal Forest, Alberta Tar Sands and Land stewardship by First Nations.

© Clyde Butcher
Agawamuck Creek in Columbia County, New York.

Admittance to gallery events is by donation to a range of green charities, including the World Wildlife Fund, NRDC, Earth Justice, Endangered Species Coalition, and International League of Conservation Photographers. All proceeds from the sale of Butcher’s photography at G2 will be contributed to the WWF. The gallery also hosts Green Living Workshops and Bioneers meetings.

© R.Cruger
Clyde Butcher signs books at his G2 Gallery exhibition.

Seeing Butcher’s stunning 5- by 8-feet large format photos immerses the viewer into the landscape. He also has several books, including Nature's Places of Spiritual Sanctuary, Living Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida and Visions for the Next Millennium: Wilderness Photography—Focus on Preservation. He's long raised funds by donating his photography for the restoration of the Everglades and gave a lecture as part of the show about his work and how it's led him to the conservation movement.

My experience reinforced my dedication to use the art of photography as an inspiration for others to work together to save nature’s places of spiritual sanctuary for future generations.

Tags: Conservation | Florida | Photo Galleries | Photography | Preservation

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