Many people are familiar with Clyde Butcher's sweeping panoramic vistas of the Everglades or our nation's geographic splendor ranging from Oxbow Bend to the Grand Tetons.
But the award-winning landscape photographer also traveled to Cuba a few years ago where he snapped some breathtaking pictures of the island's rarely visited regions. After all, when you live in a Florida swamp and look like an old hero of la revolucion, why wouldn't the fossilized regime welcome you with outstretched arms?
The results of Butcher's expedition to Cuba's tropical hinterlands will be on view in "Cuba: The Natural Beauty" opening at Wynwood's Center For Visual Communication Thursday, March 8, with a lecture and slide presentation at 7 p.m. followed by a book signing.
"This is the first time the full body of work will be shown in South Florida", says CVC director Barry Fellman. "From entire mountainsides of Royal Palms to orchids, bromeliads, and ferns, Clyde shows us there is much more in common between our countries than differences."
Butcher, who gained unprecedented access from the Cuban government during a United Nations sponsored conference on conservationism and environmental issues in the Caribbean, says the goal of the trip was to show that the natural environments of Cuba serve as a common denominator with America.
"Very few people go there to see the natural beauty of Cuba," says the master lensman. "Most visitors spend their time in the cities focusing on the architecture and vintage cars. But much of Cuba's lush foliage and vegetation are the same plants and trees that inhabit Florida's landscape," he observes.
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"One of Clyde's most poignant memories is of a young farmer in the countryside who came up to him and said 'The green is in our heart - we can't live without it,'" explains Fellman.
"Clyde was impressed with the National Parks being used for farming in a sustainable way -- it was not unusual to see banana trees and coffee plants as the understory in forests of tall trees," Fellman adds.
"Cuba: The Natural Beauty" runs through May 8 at the Center for Visual Communication 541 NW 27th Street, Miami. Cost for the lecture is $10 and seating is limited. Opening Reception and book signing starts at 8:00 p.m. and is free to public. Call 305-571-1415 or visit visual.org.