Visit World Famous Photographer Clyde Butcher’s Gallery and Swamp Cottages in the Florida Everglades
By Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong
Clyde Butcher is known worldwide for his amazing black and white photography of untouched natural landscapes of North America. After his son was killed by a drunk driver, Butcher wandered the swamps of the Everglades for days creating “a personal bond with the environment” and finding “communion with the natural world.” He is a conservationist who shares his art, his love for the Florida swamps and his home with those who want to learn.
We asked Clyde Butcher and his talented wife Nikki about their Big Cypress Gallery and Swamp Cottages.
Can you describe the Big Cypress Gallery and Swamp Cottages in one sentence?
Staying here, surrounded by over a million acres of wilderness, gives each of us a time of peace in our hectic world...a place to find your ‘center’ before once again joining the fray of society.
Why are the Everglades such an important part of Florida and the USA?
The Everglades ecosystem is a sub-tropical ecosystem not found anywhere else in the USA. It is the breeding ground of numerous migrating birds and fish.
Should the Everglades system collapse we would find a great loss in our birds and our fish population, resulting in an imbalance on both the coastal and interior ecosystems of our country.
Because the majority of the population lives in cities we are not aware of the balance of nature, however, for one example, should the bird population drop drastically because their breeding grounds are gone, we will see an abundance of insects that will take over places that they have never before been seen. It would be the beginning of a domino affect that will upset our world in ways that many scientists can go into great detail to explain.
But, beyond upsetting the balance of nature, it would also mean the loss of a beautiful and unique ecosystem…a loss of our soul.
What do you want your guests to experience during their stay?
I hope that our guests find quiet time to reflect on both the beauty of nature and on their own life. My hope is that the peace and quiet here helps them see their world more clearly and gives them strength to move back into their own lives with peace and caring for others.
Why is art important and why is photography an important art form?
Photography has the ability to show the world to those who can’t see it.
Landscape photography brings the beauty of the earth to you, so you can reflect on how fortunate we are to live on a planet of such beauty. While reflecting on that beauty a sense of peace is created.
We hope that inner peace is something the viewer can share with others.
Art is the reflection of an individual’s unique soul.
How does it make you feel knowing that people's hearts are touched by Clyde and Nikki's art?
(Niki) I have always loved my husband’s ability to capture landscape scenes in a way that makes the viewer feel like they are actually inside his photographs. Watching people get as excited over his images as much as I am excited is a thrill to me.
It has been a long path, and an adventurous path, to reach this point in our lives of making a living from our photographic art. We are both humbled that we are able to do that, as there are many wonderful artists out there who aren’t able to achieve what we have achieved.
However, we have not done it on our own. We’ve had great employees who have helped us along the way, but most wonderful of all is our daughter, Jackie, who runs our business, and her husband, Neal, who helps Clyde in the darkroom.
(Clyde) When we purchased the property in Big Cypress National Preserve to
create a home and gallery, we had no idea it would become such a popular
destination. Niki gave up her art to run the business, but this last year she
has begun again with her hand-painted black and white images. It makes me
smile when I see the enthusiasm.
Clyde Butcher is a world class photographer who is truly in love with the beauty of the earth. Clyde and Nikki offer their special insight into the unique environment of the Florida Everglades through Swamp Walks and Photography tours. We encourage everyone to visit the Big Cypress Gallery and Swamp Cottages.
Clyde Butcher’s Big Cypress Gallery and Swamp Cottages are located at 52388 Tamiami Trail, Ochopee, Florida.
For more information, visit https://clydebutcher.com/
To learn more about the Everglades National Park, visit https://www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm
To learn more about the Big Cypress National Preserve, visit https://www.nps.gov/bicy/index.htm
Article and color photos by Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong
Copyright 2016 Sunny Harbor Publishing
Sunny Harbor Publishing
PO Box 560318, Rockledge, FL 32956