Adam Butler: Beyond London’s Skyline
A chat about panoramic and landscape photography
Despite the elegant balance of his compositions, Adam Butler is not concerned with beauty. Despite the documentary nature of his images, nor is he concerned with depicted ‘reality’. Butler’s images–from his urban panoramas to his Panarea landscapes, instead look to capture a feeling, depict a moment of drama in the everyday.
Butler’s panoramas possess a certain unsettling quality. Content wise, the images often depict the manmade, displaying the architecture within varying landscapes. However, the images he makes remove the human presence. This lack of human presence paired with a cool, edgy and empty aesthetic, leaves the viewer uneasy yet focused on form and geometry, something Butler captures with great precision.
To Butler, “the camera is just the first part of the image.” It is in his creative process that he has managed to set himself apart from the masses. While a viewer of his work may see one of his panoramas of London’s horizon on a cloudy morning and simply take pleasure in gazing at the view, Butler sees a carefully crafted framing of shape and line. His post-production editing methods allow him to take his photographs and create the moment he chooses, adding elements of emotion and narrative to his images via aesthetic manipulation. With subtle digital editing Butler has managed to change the entire mood of a given image, allowing his work that distinctive quality that is so difficult to master in landscape and panoramic photography.
Some of Butler’s more dramatic editing work lends to the creation of images that present alternate realities, such as his piece Stromboli and Moon which meshes images made during the middle of the day and the dead of night. In a sense, many of his photographs depict a sort of alternate reality, in the sense that they offer the viewer a a glimpse of the world from an extraordinary perspective. Despite his desire to create dramatic, fictional moments, Butler nonetheless values making work of high technological quality, and in turn makes the sort of images that could be described as hyperreal alternate realities.
It is clear upon analyzing Adam Butler’s photographic work that he is interested in “finding the odd.” It is upon second, and third, and fourth glance that the viewer can fully understand how Butler has achieved much more than an aesthetically pleasing image. Much like the best-selling book he co-penned, The Art Book, Butler’s photographs offer the viewer something new to be discovered upon each revisit.