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Clyde Butcher (born 1941) is an American photographer known for wilderness photography of the Florida landscape. He began his career doing color photography before switching to large scale black-and-white landscape photography after the death of his son. Butcher is a strong advocate of conservation efforts and uses his work to promote awareness of the beauty of natural places.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Clyde Butcher led a nomadic childhood with his parents, until they settled in Southern California when he was 18. He attended California Polytechnic University in 1960 with a major in architecture. While visiting Yosemite National Park in 1963, he learned about the photography studies of Ansel Adams.
During his senior year of college, Butcher married his college sweetheart Niki.
Beginnings of photography career
During college, Butcher presented his architecture projects by creating and photographing miniature-scale models instead of making drawings.
After graduation, Butcher began a career in architecture. He was responsible for a portion of the design of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, California. Upon losing his job, Butcher began showing his photography at local art festivals. He soon realized that he could make more money in photography than he was making in architecture. By 1970, he left architecture for landscape photography.
Eventually, Butcher had a partnership that marketed and sold his images to the wall décor departments of Sears, Montgomery Ward, and J. C. Penney. He eventually accrued around 200 employees and offices in Akron, Ohio and Southern California. In order to increase sales, Butcher added color photography. The bulk of his photography during this time took place west of the Rocky Mountains and in the Pacific Northwest.
To escape some of the stress of the business, he moved onto a sailboat with his wife where he lived for seven years, moored in the harbor of Newport Beach, California. The boat had electricity and refrigeration, but conditions were spartan. Living without a television on the boat gained the family a sense of peace and solitude while they could take advantage of the city.
Move to Florida
Butcher's love for boating and the television program Flipper inspired him to explore Florida. Butcher sold his business in California, moved to Florida, and returned to selling art in street festivals.
In 1986, the Butchers' son was killed in a car collision with a drunk driver. Butcher retreated to the wilderness for solace and restoration. He put aside color photography and became a black-and-white landscape photographer using large-format cameras. He prints images ranging from 8x10 inches to 5x9 feet.
Butcher's deep appreciation for the Everglades inspired him to work for the restoration and preservation of environment. He has received recognition for his community service as well as his photography. In 1992, PBS aired a documentary about him, Visions of Florida, which won a Wolfson Award.
Butcher and his work has also inspired other artist-conservationists, such as film producer Elam Stoltzfus, who was struck by Clyde's art. The pair have formed a friendship over the years and have collaborated on several multimedia projects together as a result. Butcher hosted the documentaries "Big Cypress Swamp: The Western Everglades" and "Kissimmee Basin: The Northern Everglades," sister films that highlighted the importance of conservation and art in the state of Florida.
Legacy and awards
- 1998, Florida Artist Hall of Fame Award 
- 2000, Ansel Adams Award from the Sierra Club
- 2003, Florida Monthly Magazine - Best Florida Artist
- 2005, North American Nature Photography Association, Lifetime Achievement Award in Nature Photography 
- 2006, Best Florida Artist,  Florida Magazine Best of Florida 2006
- 2004, Best gallery in Florida
- 2005, Stars in the Arts Award
- 2005, North American Nature Photography Association Lifetime Achievement Award 2005 
- 1996, Heartland Community Service Award
- 1997, Everglades Coalition Award
- 1997, "Person of the Week", presented by Peter Jennings on ABC News)
- 1997, American Planning Association - Florida Chapter Service Award
- 1998, South Eastern Region Nature Conservancy Conservation Colleague Award
- 1999, Keeping Florida Beautiful - Adopt-A-Highway Public Service Award
- 2000, Ansel Adams, conservation award
- 2004, Wolfsom Telly Award
- 2004, Top 100 Most Influential People in Florida
- 2005, Florida International University Humanitarian of the Year Award
- "Who Will Be the Next Ansel Adams?", Popular Photography Magazine, 2004
Recent major exhibits
- January 28 - April 15, 2007 - St. Paul, MN, America The Beautiful: The Monumental Landscape of Clyde Butcher. Traveling to the Muscarelle Museum of Art, Williamsburg, Virginia
- January 9 - February 12, 2009 Apalachicola River: An American Treasure, Photographic exhibit and documentary film with cinematographer Elam Stoltzfus, St Paul Public Library 
- April 2004 Living Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida, Photographic exhibit and documentary film with cinematographer Elam Stoltzfus
- 2000-2001 Visions for the Next Millennium, Traveling photographic installation. May 10 - October 16, 2011, The G2 Gallery.
- "Interview with Clyde Butcher", This Life of Leisure
- "Acclaimed photographer Clyde Butcher takes folks on tour of Everglades at his annual ‘Muck About’", Naples News, 26 August 2010
- Apalachicola River: An American Treasure, filmmaker's website
- Clyde Butcher's website
- Ansel Adams & Clyde Butcher
- "Film on Aquatic Preserves wins national award", Florida Department of Environmental Protection
- "Clyde Butcher, A Photographer In The Heart Of The Everglades", Shutterbug, February 2004
- St Paul Public Library
- C. Butcher, Clyde on Indexmod Encyclopedia of Art and Fashion