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What the Butler Saw
BY Mike Gartside
If Lynn Butler sent her photographs for processing at Boots they'd probably come back with one of those irritating stickers saying something like, 'subject out of focus; hold camera steady or choose shorter exposure time." Which would totally ignore the fact, of course, that she'd just taken one of the most ravishing shots of a fairground scene or an endangered landscape that you're ever likely to see, rammed with bustling movement and iridescent colors.
Butler has always had a fine art approach to her photography since graduating with a masters degree back in the 1970s. What makes her special is her experiment with movement her first project was an environmental study, which involved taking photographs from horseback. Since then a she's had a passion for environment. Having formed a close relationship with California's Esselen Indians and working on a number of environmental campaigns with them. One special campaign involved successfully protecting traditional Esselen burial grounds from a water-damming scheme Instigated by the then Mayor of Carmel. A certain Mr. Clint Eastwood, surely a case of life getting its own back on art.
But I digress. Butler's Coney Island Project may seem light-years away from the work of a photographer who likes to roam the great outdoors on horseback, but as a New Yorker, she's always been well aware of the allure surrounding what was once America’s greatest playground. Not only that, but she's happy to travel by motor bike, golf buggy or even snow mobile when a horse isn’t always practical and, in its own way, Coney Island is also something of an endangered landscape.
"Coney Island has a lot of history.” She asserts. 'Many of Edison's invention, took place there and it had a lot of very interesting landmark buildings. There's actually very little left in Coney Island. There's one landmark building left, while at the time that I started in the '80s, there were several others which, unfortunately, were condemned and had to be pulled down. This is what happens to landmark buildings even though they're supposed to be preserved there's just not enough money to make them safe until the renovation takes place."
In the l8th century the beach, ten miles from Manhattan, was the holiday home of wealthy New Yorkers. In the age of mass transport, In the 19th century, it became a destination for the now industrial working classes and, in very much the same way as Blackpool, developed miles of rollercoasters, hamburger stalls, Ferris wheels and fairgrounds along its sea front. In the 20th century it was decided that New York's homeless could be conveniently dumped there in special projects, which brought an influx of vagrants, dealers and prostitutes to the area, accelerating the decline of the increasingly outinuded seaside industry. These days Coney Island retains fin- de elects elegance coupled with a sinister backdrop of poverty and crime. Holiday, makers still flock there, if only to experience a slice of its myth, but they try to get out of the area by nightfall.
"It's now a very dangerous place," says Lynn, 'The New York Police Department put [extra] police down there from May 30th to the end of August and try to make it safe for people during daylight hours. A lot of tourists we attracted there by the history of the place and then are very let down by what they see but for me the feeling of the importance is still there the beach is very beautiful, as well so I try to capture that."
Lynn openly Admits to being influenced by the Impressionist Painters but images which would look sentimental, in paint comes over as hard nosed documentary on the silver print. Coney Island has allowed her to serve up scenes as genteel and idyllic as the Renoir esque 'The Gossips' (pictured) or the frankly terrifying 'Girl with a Gun', in which a base ball hatted girl strolls through the fairground casualty brandishing an 8” barreled shooter. Happily, most of Lynn, shooting involves experimenting with shutter speeds, film and color, leaving an impressionistic legacy that most painters would stop a bullet for.
Watershed Media Center
Coney Island - Lynn H. Butler
BY Phillippa Goodall
Lynn H. Butler's forty or so images of Coney Island take an affectionate and unique view of this remarkable melting pot of American life. For much of the 18th century Coney Island was the preserve of wealthy New Yorkers who had the time and money to make the ten mile journey from Manhattan. However by the end of the century this exclusive beach resort was opening up to the masses with the arrival of steam trains and steamboat. This marked a new era for Coney Island a popular and frenetic time of Ferris wheels and rollercoasters, hamburgers and hot dogs, street fairs and side shows. Now Coney Island has reached a new phase, when Lynn H. Butler undertook this work some of the older buildings and rides were due for demolition and the amusement centre had dwindled to about ten scarred blocks. But much of the old magic and mystery remains and it stills plays host to many a pleasure seeker.
Lynn H. Butler breaks the rules many of her images are taken on the move, sometimes from the back of a bike, films double and triple exposed, exposure times manipulated creating soft, sensitive, colorful imagery with a highly Impressionistic quality. This introduces an element of mystery, crossing the boundaries of the past and the present, capturing the accidents of experience, the surprises, the incidents tragedy side by side with festivity. Her kinetic camerawork captures her subjects in a world of motion and energy, making Coney Island a truly distinctive exhibition. Lynn H. Butler has exhibited widely in America and Europe and her work is held in several international permanent collections.
To coincide with this exhibition Watershed is running a special one-day course Photography for Bikers, led by Lynn H. Butler, which will introduce participants to her unconventional photographic techniques. The course is on Saturday 27 July at Watershed from 11.15am 6.15pm. For further details of this course please contact Box Office on (0117) 927 6444.
Poetry: In colour and motion
BY Leica Staff
The Camera as a Brush” is what Lynn H. Butler called the exhibition in which her evocative photographs were shown. This tide serves to describe an important characteristic of the latter. It is not sharp contours and clearly defined areas which determines work by Lynn H. Butler but an impressionistic blend of colors, a technique which makes them look more like paintings. Furthermore, it is not individual details which count here but the harmony of the overall composition. All at the same time, her photographs are romantic and mysterious. "Simply outstanding", is how the curator of the Brooklyn Museum, Barbara Head Millstein, described the show.
Lynn H. Butler vas born in New York in 1953. After taking her examinations at Hamilton College as well as the College of New Rochelle, she went on to study at the Winnona School of Photography, Indiana, as well as at international schools of photography in New York and France. Right from the beginning of her career, Lynn H. Butler worked as a freelance photographer. In the last 12 years, her work has been shown in over 30 exhibitions around the world.
Numerous private collections, such as the National Bibliotheque in Paris, the Inter national Center of Photography in New York and the Museo Ken Danny in Brescia in Italy have acquired pictures.
In more recent years, the Leica Gallery in New York hung the show "The Indefinite Moment".
Furthermore, her work has been published in several books, such as in "Coney Island Kaleidoscope" (Beautiful America Publishing Company)
It was from the later collection that the present portfolio was taken. A considerable proportion of Lynn H. Butler's colour work depicts objects in motion, such as a revolving Carousel.
Here the blurred image underlines the notion of speed whereas books on photography tell you to hold the carrier; as still as possible to obtain a sharp picture, Lynn H. Butler has gone her own way, broken the rules and included the phenomena of blurred motion in her pictures.
"I am sure that everyone who comes across photographs by Lynn H. Butler will be delighted by her poetic imagery of what Charles Henri Favrod, Director of the Musee de I'Elysee in Lausanne, had to say about her work.
Carrousel et Pyramids Carrousel et Pyramids
By Philippe Clot
Un visage felin aux yeux mi clos: Lynn Butler ressemble aux actrices que Woody Allen engage souvent pour les premiers roles de ses films. Une beaute de fee Melusine enetrange harmonie avec les photos de a New Yorkaise.
Des mois durant, Lynn Butler a parcouru a Cheval Coneyt Island. Cette presqu'ile du sud de Brooklyn fut la plage favorite des riches New Yorkais avant que les classes moins favorisees investissent les lieux et que les carrousels et attractions diverses poussent comme des champignong. Grace a un developpement special donnant des effets pastel, et a des « bouges » savamment doses, Lynn Butler reinvente un des endroits de la planete les plus mitrailles par les photographes.
Les salles principales du musee sont reservees de Pierre do Fenoyl mort en 1987 a l'age de 42ans. Celui qui fut le premier directeur de la Fondation nationale francaise de la photographie parcouru le monde des 1980, sea appareils en bandouliere. Du tres beau photoreportage fixant sur papier glace paysages et monuments du monde entier.
Les combles du musee accueillent des documents du XIXe siecle sur l’Egypte. Avant l’invention de la photographie, les graveurs representatient souvent le pays des pharaons comme un champ infini de pyramides. La photographie aneantira cette egyptologie fantaisiste et permettra de cataloguer les monuments. Une invention historique au service de l’Histoire.
Revenant sur l ; « affaire Favrod », le conservateur du usee a declare hir : « On me dit qu’il faut que tout ca se cicatrise. Mais l‘ennui avec les cicatices, c’est qu’elles restent, « Cependant les choses se preciserit quant au futur statut de l’institution. En effet, la motion Zisyadis a ete acceptee en comission par 10 voix contre 1 (liberale). Si le Grand Conseil dit egtalement oui le Conseil d’Etat proposera un project en novembre.
Lausanne, Musee de l’Elysee Pierre de Fenoyl, Lynn Butler, Wi Wenders, Egy6pte. Jusqu’au 30 aout.
COURROUSELS et PYRAMIDS
Frolicking photographs on the outskirts of New York
Le filmed cat with its eyes half opened. Lynn Butler resembles the actresses that Woody Allen wants to portray for his starring roles in his films. A Melusian catlike beauty in strange harmonie in these photos of the New York (F).
During these months, Lynn Butler has traveled by horse through Coney Island. This nearby island south of Brooklyn had been the favorite beach of rich New Yorkers before the less favored classes (people) invested themselves in this locale where the carrousels and other diverse attractions became the stars (champions). Thanks to a special development giving the pastel effects and with the "sleazy" knowing hookers(?) Lynn Butler reinvents one of the quarters on the planet most fired by these photographs.
Unique et intemporel
By Georges Luks
Lynn Butler est Americaine et vit a New York. <<A Passage Through The Land of Sleepy Hollow>> est le theme de son exposition au Photoforum Pasquart. A decouvrir jusqu'au 17 mars.
C'est A travers des images de la realite et les realites de ses images que Lynn Butler’s exprime. Tout un parcolors photographique long et laborieux et le desir d'exprimer ses experiences les plus subjectives.
Parce que la photographie nous donne toutes les garanties necessaires saires A la verite, Lynn Butler a tenu a montrer que sa vision a elle pouvait etre differente, que le reel pouvait devenir irreel quelque part dans sa poesie.
Le paysage qu'elle met en scene est d'autant plus valorisi qu'elle y met en valeur la lumiere, la beaute des couleurs dans ce qu'elles ont de plus surnaturel. Cest ce qu'on appelle de la photographie impressionniste quand on met en valeur couleurs et lumieres. Bien sur on peut ne pas aimer ces flous obtenus par une technique photographique que Lynn Butler a mise au point, on peut aussi ne pas aimer cette sorte de vibration optique que procurent ces images. Mais, au dela de ces considerations, il y a cette nouveaute, cette approche differente, cette vision d'une campagne connue mais revue et corrigee par l’oeil de l’ artiste.
Lynn Butler est une sorte de peintre de le l'objectif qui refuse de reduire simplement la photographie a son role de reproduction, d'archive, de document historique. Elle pousse le naturalisme jusqu'a l'impressionnisme, ne mettant jamais en doute la perception humaine.
On la devine presente dans ses photographies, executant de l’interieur. On saisit que ses propres sentiments, envers la nature depassent ceux de la vision. Pourtant elle sert la photographie par une operation technique mais ne va jamais jusqu'a effacer ses liens avec le reel.
Le cheval pourrait etre ou venir renforcer son expression sentimentale avec la nature et le symbolisme qu'il reprisente. On le retrouve dans presque toutes ses images, ou bien entendu il symbolise la force et la liberte ou encore l’acces au reve.
Lynn Butler nous donne A voir une exposition etonnante qui privilegie 1'expirience du photographe dans ses manipulations tres raffinees mais qui mettent en scene des images pleines de sentiments et qui donnent au reel une dimension intemporelle et unique. A decouvrir jusqu'au 17 mars.
UNIQUE AND OTHER WORLDLY
Lynn Butler is American and lives in New York. A Passaqe Through the Land of Sleepy Hollow is the theme of her exhibition at Photoforum Paquart. Through March 17th.
It is through images of reality and the realities of her Images that Lynn Butler expresses herself. It is a long and painstaking photographic exploration of her desire to interpret her experiences in a most subjective manner.
Because photography gives us every assurance of authenticity, Lynn Butler shows us that her vision can be different, that reality can become unreal somewhere in her poetic interpretation.
The landscape that she shows is all the more heightened by the quality of light and the beauty of colors she uses, some of which are supernatural. It is what one might call impressionist photography which exploits the value of color and light.
Certainly one might not like the fuzziness achieved by the photographic technique that Lynn Butler uses, and one might also not like the sort of optlcal vibration these images produce. But, apart from these considerations, there is a freshness, a new approach, a vision of countryside which is known to us but reseen and corrected by the eye of the artist.
Lynn Butler is a sort of painter of reality who refues to simply reduce photography to its role of reproduction, of archives, of historical document. She pushes naturalism to the point of Impressionism, never leaving in doubt the human perspective.
One senses her presence in her photographs. One sees that her own feelings towards nature overtake that of vision. Nevertheless she uses photography as a working method but never goes so far as to eradicate its connections with reality.
The horse reinforces her sentimental reeling for nature and the symbolism which it represents. One finds it in almost all of her images, where: certainly it symibolizes the strength and freedom of her dream.
Lynn Butler gives us an astonishing exhibition which grants us the experience of the photographer who manipulates nature in a very refined way but who shows us Images full of emotion and which gives to reality a dimension which is otherworldly and unique. Open until March 17th.
Lynn Butler in Munchen
Bilder der New Yorker Fotografin Lynn Butler werden vom 3 September bis 14. Oktober in der Münchner Graphis-Photos Art Galerie fur Fotografie (KIenzestrasse 2) zu sehen sein.
Wirklich erstaunlich ist auch Lynn Butlers Technik. Alles passiert in der Kamera, eine Nachbehandlung, wie z. B. durch Kolorieren, findet laut Fotografin nicht statt. Abgesehen von der ungewöhnlichen Methoce, die Bilder vom Rücken eines Pferdes zu fotografieren, arbetet Lynn Butler mit langen Belichtungszeiten. Aus dieser Kombination entsteht hauptsählich dieser fast pointilistische Effekt, der die Fotos aussehen lässt, als wären sie aus einzelnen Pinselstrichen zusammengesetzt. Auch die Benutzung von farbigen Filtern und unkonventionellen Entvvicklungsmethocen gehört zu diesff Technik. Doch Lynn Butler geht es nicht nur darurn, schöne Bilder zu machen, sie sucht sich ganz gezielt für ihre fotografischen Motive Plätze aus, die I clurch Verlust oder Veränderung bedroht sind. Umweltverschmutzung, bedingt durch die industrielle Entwicklung, bedroht die Landschaft von Tarrytown und , SleepyHollow.
Coney Island soll auf Grund Förderung curch die Regierung und privater Investoren erneuert werden. „Meine Mitteilung beinhaltet die Dringlichkeit, die Geschichte und die Umgebung dieser Orte zu bewahren ... Ich möchte, daß die Menschen die Schönheit und den Zaulber und die Wildheit in meinen Fotos spören. "
Following is a ROUGH translation of the articles on Lynn Butler.
EXHIBIT: LYNN BUTLER IN MUNICH
Photographs by New York photographer Lynn Butler can be seen in Munich's Graphic Photo Arts gallery from September 3 until October 14th.
What is really outstanding is Lynn Butler's technique. Everything takes place in the camera, a "subsequent treatment", as for example through colorization, does not occur with this photographer. Aside from the unusual methods, in order to make photos from the back of a horse, Lynn Butler works with long exposure times, From this comes primarily an almost pointillist effect, leaving the photos with a look as though they were made from many single pinpoints put together, Also the use of color filters and unconventional developing methods belong to this technique. However, Lynn Butler's goal is not to only make beautiful photos. She strives, with persistence, to find places for her photographic motifs, which are threatened by loss or change. Environmental pollution, caused by industrial change, threatens the landscapes from Tarrytown and "Sleepy Hollow". Coney Island is to be restored through support from the government and private investors. "My message is to express the urgency of preserving the history and the surrounding of this place". I would like the people to sense the beauty, cleanliness & untamed in my photos."
"Lynn Butlers photographs are a celebration for spirit and the senses. Her technique almost like painting in her case gives her photography a sensitive individuality. The world that she shows is one which either we, she, or the world itself are in permanent movement" is the opinion of an American critic regarding this meaningful New York photographer, Above all, Lynn Butler's technique is really outstanding, achieving an alienating effect this though, is not from "subsequent treatment" like colorization. Just the opposite; everything takes place in the camera.