The Everglades National Park
FIU IDH 4007

Inspiration from the Simplicity of the Natural World

Raiza Say
IDH 4007
Fall Semester 2005

   When I first thought about the idea of going to an art gallery where all of the work is of the Everglades and the environment, I did not think much of it. I honestly thought it would be boring and kind of a waste of time. But, when I walked in the door of the little cottage-like building I knew I was wrong.

   Black and white photos have more colors than color photos actually do. They show the beauty of the photo and do not have any kinds of distractions that colors bring. The little bit of time that we spent in Clyde Butcher's gallery had an impact on me, one that will probably last for the rest of my life.

   It is amazing how he can turn something so simple as a photograph into an unforgettable piece of work. Maybe it is because we do not have the time to enjoy nature that Butcher's work is so incredible. Life today in the twenty-first century revolves around material things, that if gone today can be replaced tomorrow. The only true value they have is monetary. Is that a value at all? How can paper painted with colors give something a value?

   Butcher's art brings out the meaning of life. It reminds me that today's fast paced life makes us forget about the true importance of life. Butcher spends an entire day out waiting for that one perfect picture. He takes the time to enjoy the real beauty and capture it at its finest.

   The sadness of living in today's world is that people actually can't afford to spend a day outside just sitting there. We either have to work, go to school, or do chores around the house. There is always something that we have to do and which cannot be left undone.

   All of Butcher's art is a reflection of life the way I see it. When we are given gifts, we don't look at how much time the person spent to choose it or that they took the time to remember us. No, the typical person will look at how much they spent and when they are getting a gift for that person will spend no more and no less then they did. The photographs show the time that Butcher spent to capture them. They also show that we forget to stop and smell the roses.

   It is something I always promised myself. When I was younger my parents never stopped to smell the roses. In a sense I can't complain because I always had what I wanted materialistically but not what I really wanted. I wanted them to take the time to get to know me, and the both of them, not just one because the other one was tired or busy. My parents are great, they really are. But, sometimes I feel that they judge me based on the extent of my education and how much money I make in my career. Why they taught me that, I really don't know, but it often makes me feel like I am not good enough.

   To me it is important to see beyond how much money a person is "worth" and take the time to get to know who they really are in terms of personality, thoughts, and just what a person is about. I feel like that has kept my parents from actually getting to know me. That is why I appreciate Butcher's work even more. He takes the time to look deep into nature and discover the beauty that you can't see at a glance. We can all take pictures, but we can't all capture a description of nature itself, because most of us do not take the time. A digital camera cannot help make a photo aesthetically beautiful, it is the photographer. That is why we should give the people around us more time. It shouldn't matter if a person is a CEO or a homemaker, you can't define them based on their profession.

   Earlier this year my parents took the time. They, my brother, my fiancé and I went out on our boat the first weekend we had it and spent from Friday to Sunday in the middle of the ocean. We did not have television or Internet; we had each other to get to know. We played card games, fished and talked. There was time to get to know each other going beyond the judgments. That weekend connected us so much that I can actually tell them that I love them.

   I easily connected with Butcher's work and saw beyond the fact that it was just a photograph of a flower or clouds. He took so much time to get that perfect picture. I think of each one as the epitome of his connection. Nature let Butcher borrow its beauty as a gift for him taking the time to get to know it.

   It is the simple things in life that we need to make time for and appreciate. This is a message that I have carved into my heart and have made sure that my fiancé shares it with me so that we can pass it on to our children and those we surround ourselves with. Blue-collar, white-collar, we are all the same. Money is not always there to take care of you and help you when you are going through a hard time. It is those people who spend the time to get to know you.

   Black and white, the photos tell us more than we think. Butcher's work has taken something such as nature and taken it beyond just thoughts and made it into a beautiful photo without the colors, and expanded on what defines the photo.

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