I remember the first time I saw a Clyde Butcher photograph. It was years ago and I had accidently found his photos while goofing around online.

It was a defining moment for me, as my website Authentic Florida was beginning to take shape. Looking at his landscape photographs reminded me of the unspoiled Florida I remembered from childhood. I recognized many scenes, and saw some I had never encountered. My mission is to discover “real” Florida, and I knew that I had found a special inspiration through his work. Wherever Clyde went, I wanted to follow.

There is something so visually magical about black-and-white photography. For me, the simplicity and purity of the dance between light and shadow allow me to create my own love story with Florida. And I find that I can visualize my own beauty of the particular scene--even without color.

I became so profoundly influenced by Butcher's work that it led me to his Venice Gallery. There, I admired his large black and white photos of Florida’s Big Cypress Swamp and many enlarged landscapes of places I wanted to visit in the future.

Based on that trip, I decided to journey to his other gallery, the one down in the Big Cypress Swamp, for something called a “Muck About” that I had learned of during my gallery visit in Venice. It was through the Clyde Butcher Swamp Walk that I became an active participant in creating my own personal relationship with the Everglades. I am so grateful for that experience.

Eventually I met him and began a friendship with him and his wife, Niki and daughter, Jackie. Clyde was a speaker at my Authentic Florida event to benefit Oscar Scherer State Park.

I am grateful for the work of this committed and dear couple, and appreciate their devotion to Florida as well as the direction their work has led me in my own authentic discoveries.

Thank you Clyde and Niki. Viva Florida!

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