Mike Butler – Architectural Photographer

Seeing the invisible, in the Boyaca Colombian Countryside.

We had driven an hour down a dirt road, surrounded by towering mountains, high in the Andes. Our place of origin was of no meaning, now with every turn down this dusty road we sunk deeper into the past. We drove by farms, land tilled by hand, rows of crops intersected in the traditional manner, rows of peas with corn planted in between, surrounded by the thorns of blackberry. Passing motorbikes were the only indication we were still in the present day. Coming upon a grand valley, we stopped the car, as my feet touched the earth and rock below, I looked out to a grand vista, a valley of green, stretching out miles, cows, and horses were but tiny specs of moving life upon this land. Clouds overhead blotted out the sun creating great ships of shadows moving across this landscape, in perfect contextual union with the land, they danced together hand in hand body to body, the way our ancestors understood. The only sounds to be heard were the birds and sky above, just as they should be, peace and harmony. The green of this country is so deep almost surreal, deep green injected with soot black, soothing, unique to this place. Mountain faces untouched my man, with water falling down them like the hills are crying tears of joy.

Artists are here to see this invisible dance, to elucidate to the roaming nomads, all too busy in day-to-day chores to see the glory right in front of them, or the injustice they partake in knowingly or not. Here on this landscape, I had come with my family, so time was short, and I knew somewhere out there lay the invisible waiting to be found, so I may find it and bring it back to the nomads. Some nameless rock and landscape walked over, used every day, never given much thought besides its utility. From which mundane scene shall I discover a work of art?

So upon this land, where generations of farmers lived and died, while the current keepers of the land slept, I walked forth into the darkness, with my light teasing out the textures and light which on any given day are lost in the cacophony of sound and color under our mother the sun. I capture them like little bugs and stick them to a velvet board, sail home, and display them on my wall, luminescent, dead, carapaces of their actual being. Yet what is being if not known?

  Stadium of Unknowing.

Living Rock and her Dead Friend.
The Waiting Land.

These images are the first of a series from the Colombian countryside. Colombia is a place I go often and have been searching for a way to capture its beauty which goes beyond the millions of IG photos or artist renditions of home and landscape. This set of every expanding image is my very small contribution to mankind’s understanding of life here on this planet. A very thin slice of habitability that is razor-thin and ever so magical.

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