Legendary Photographer Clyde Butcher Brings the Beauty of Cuba to ¡ARTE VIVA!

Photo of an older man in a blue shirt with a hat and glasses

Known as the Ansel Adams of Florida, Clyde Butcher has dedicated decades to documenting the stark beauty of the Everglades.

Like famed Florida author Marjorie Stoneman Douglas before him, Butcher captures the incalculable importance of the million-acre wilderness that Douglas dubbed the “River of Grass.”

Missouri-born Butcher was, in fact, inspired to take up nature photography when he saw an exhibit of Ansel Adams’ photographs during a visit to Adams’ beloved Yosemite National Park.

People in an art gallery looking and black and white photography

Butcher began his career in landscape photography as a hobby while he worked as an architect in San Francisco in the 1960s. After losing his architecture job, he decided to pursue photography full-time in 1970, selling his early images from the West Coast to retail giants Sears, Montgomery Ward, and JC Penney.  He was lured to Florida in the early 1980s by his love of boating and the television show “Flipper.”

Following the tragic death of his 17-year-old son Ted in 1986, Butcher shifted from color photography to his now-iconic black-and-white format. He also sought solace for his grief by traveling deeper into the quiet wilderness of the Everglades.  Butcher eventually settled on 14 acres near Ochopee in the Big Cypress National Preserve in Collier County, where he began giving guided tours to help people better understand the often-misunderstood environment.

Since 1997, Butcher has produced his signature large-format photographs — some up to 9 feet wide — of the Everglades landscape. His adventures have found him standing waist-deep in tea-colored water, sharing the vast wetland with the wildlife that have called it home for millennia.

Large format camera in a glass case

In 2002, Butcher carried his large-format camera to Cuba, where he was invited to create images of that island nation’s vast natural beauty as part of the United Nations’ “Year of the Mountains.” During three week-long trips, Butcher traveled from the eastern Sierra Maestra Mountains to the southern coast, capturing stunning images of breathtaking mountain waterfalls, lush jungles, and wide, unspoiled beaches. Along the way, he photographed areas not seen by outsiders in decades.