On my photo website, EButterfield Photography, there are two quotes, in various places, that more or less define what I’m about, photographically. There’s this, from Oscar Wilde: “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” And there’s this, from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.”

I’ve always been surrounded by photography.  My grandfather was a small-town professional photographer (specializing in portraits of Gladiolus Parade Queens and beaming local brides). He had a shingle hung in front of his house with a big, garish, Gothic “B” on it announcing “Butterfield Photography,” so I come by the name honestly; I just like the nice sans-serif better. My great-uncle was an aerial photo analyst in WWII, and my father, not one to take retirement sitting down, is a photographer for a small suburban Chicago newspaper. Relatives I never knew (this is probably a good thing), who lived somewhere behind the hills in Missouri, didn’t have two rocks to pound together but seemed to have somehow managed to take pictures of their odd and craggy selves, and the places they referred to with astonishingly optimistic delusion as “farms.” Those pictures are in my condo today (though I would  prefer that their subjects stay as far away as possible). Anyway, it’s no surprise how I’ve gotten to this point.

I love photography. I love looking at the world through a viewfinder, where it isolates the chaos into a manageable little rectangle I can control. I look for abstract patterns in detail, the “touchy-ness” of surfaces viewed so closely their “thingness” disappears; for bursts of rich color in expected and unexpected places; for textures and details. At the same time, I love finding natural balance and symmetry in the bigness of the world: landscape views from airplane windows where the American Southwest transforms into an abstract painting, for instance; mountain ranges and rolling hills that interact with the sky. And somewhere between there, portraits of the plants, animals, and people that live suspended between the micro and the macro.

For portrait work, I prefer to photograph people natural light and actual places, where they’re more comfortably themselves than when they’re perched on stools in front of drapes, squinting and smiling at bright lights. I prefer the casual to the formal, and I’m not afraid of skin. Like my other work, I guess, I like to impose my artificialness on what’s naturally there.

This is all a fancy way of saying that I like taking pictures of stuff.

I also like writing, and if I have the opportunity to write about photography, all the better. In past lives I have been a textbook writer, legal and technical editor, proofreader and copyeditor, English teacher, Publisher, VP of Publishing, and now Director of Products & Services for a large technology nonprofit association, which means I head up a staff that produces, among other things, magazines, journals, books, and online content. Words, words everywhere.

On this blog, I fully intend to be verbose, opinionated, self-absorbed, and puffed-up with a sense of my own importance. I also intend to be humorous, and hopefully helpful, with some insights about photography. I hope to be interesting, or at least generally grammatical. I’m sure, should anyone end up reading these, you’ll let me know.