July 3, 2020

Schumacher Gallery brings Linda Butler’s photography to campus

Every year the Schumacher Gallery holds three different art exhibitions. One in the fall semester, one in the spring semester, and then lastly, the Student Showcase. 

This semester, the Schumacher Gallery has selected Linda Butler’s photography collection Lake Erie: Life on the Edge. 

The collection, taking four years to complete, focuses on Lake Erie and the pollution that contaminates the water. Lake Erie contains more sea life than all of the other Great Lakes combined, but consumption can cause sickness due to the intense mercury levels. 

“It is my hope that the photographs will help motivate us all to recognize the fragility and importance of our lake, and to act boldly and wisely to preserve it for future generations,” Butler  said on her photography blog.

Although Butler has always had a love for photography, she did not become passionate about the art until college when she studied abroad.

“The year I spent in Japan when I was 20 or 21 years old… Everyday I took photographs, primarily black and white. I shifted into color a few years ago when the change in the types of -cameras that are available now took over,” Butler said. 

With Life on Edge being Butler’s first collection in color, she wanted it to show the truth behind Lake Erie. Butler went to extreme lengths to photograph the entire 900-mile perimeter, which included renting planes so she could capture aerial shots of the lake. 

Pictured is one of the aerial shots Butler rented a plane to capture.

With the collection showcasing 32 photos, Butler’s personal favorite is “Luminescence,” taken in Ashtabula, Ohio.

“It was taken out on a cliff toward the western end of Ohio and I think it’s the most beautiful photograph in the exhibit. It’s on the ground it wasn’t even aerial. But it was a special day when the ice was melting on the lake,” Butler said. 

Butler throughout the project had become more and more aware of the effects climate change has on the environment. 

“I started realizing when I went to Canada how far ahead the Canadians are in terms of renewable energy compared to the United States,” Butler said.

After Butler photographed the wind turbines in Buffalo, New York, she became more aware of the advantages of wind turbines. 

“One of the photographs is of a huge group of windmills in Canada and Ontario and the government just know decided ‘okay were going to put up 5000,’” Butler said. 

Capturing images of nature led to Butler’s ecological insights, changing the way she looks at renewable energy.

There will be a reception held on Jan. 23 from 5-7 p.m. in the Schumacher Gallery where Butler will be present and will answer questions.

The collection will be open to the public Jan. 20 through March 21, with the exception of Feb. 22 to March 1 for mid-term break.

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