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Myakka River: A Florida Treasure

Explore the Beauty of Myakka Through Clyde Butcher’s Lens

New exhibition at The Bishop features world-renowned photographer’s stunning images of the Myakka’s primal beauty

For more than 20 years, Clyde Butcher (known as the Ansel Adams of Florida) has explored the deeper regions of the Myakka and spent many seasons experiencing its changes and its diverse ecosystems. Designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, the tannic waters flow through bottomland swamp and freshwater marsh, spilling into lakes and sinkholes.

In this special exhibition, The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature features the large-format, stunning photographs of Myakka taken by world-renowned landscape photographer Clyde Butcher. Through the exhibition of 30 photographs, guests can experience the presence and moments that captivated Clyde to share this treasure. Some photographs are mural-sized, ranging up to 4 by 7 feet. Myakka River: A Florida Treasure is sponsored by Elizabeth Moore and is open at The Bishop through Sept. 6. Visiting this special exhibition is included in the price of admission.

Myakka River: A Florida Treasure captures the spirit of this primal, exotic place and allows visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty, complexity and diversity of vital freshwater areas where alligators, turtles and cottonmouths swim, and herons, cranes and limpkins strut through its shallows feeding in the muck. Butcher took the photos in Myakka River State Park, Triangle Ranch and surrounding lands.

“Clyde Butcher’s beautiful images really allow us to focus on the importance of clean water in Florida and emphasize the vital connections among the different ecosystems of the Myakka,” said Matthew D. Woodside, Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions at The Bishop. “Curating this body of Clyde’s work gave us the opportunity to provide additional interpretation to his images to help visitors learn about the Myakka’s natural and cultural history, and the conservation and management efforts to protect it as a vital resource for the life it supports.”

Viewing Clyde Butcher’s images also allows visitors to glimpse the special connection that he has with this wild and alluring place of healing — a place that he hopes his photographs will continue to inspire others to preserve.

“I have always felt that the best photographs are taken in surroundings near to your heart,” said Butcher. “I had photographed the Myakka River ecosystem before my stroke in 2017, but afterward, the Myakka became a sort of sanctuary for me. Spending time and capturing its primal beauty saved my life spirit and helped heal my body. Myakka is the place where I found inspiration, peace and healing.

“It is my hope that you, too, will find the same peace and enjoyment from this special place. My vision is to increase awareness of Myakka’s ecosystem, in hopes that it will help more people connect with and want to join us in protecting this unique and beautiful environment.”