Linda Butler's career presents as a seamless record of continuously evolving success, as she has moved from triumph to triumph, her progress marked by a series of themed monographs--four to date--each of which has represented not just an expanding unique vision, but ground-breaking approaches to documentary photography.
Her last book was published by Stanford University Press, and is a literal elegy to a part of the world that we are soon to lose completely, as China completes its gigantic dam project which will bury hundreds of miles of territory and culture under a huge engineered lake along the great Yangtze River.
Butler's choice of black and white, as opposed to color imagery, was clear from the beginning--her vision is decisively within the tradition of magic shading--long straight-line scales, without losing the intensities of rich blacks and evanescently luminous shoulders.
With the Yangtze River book, her attention moves out into a broader sphere, giving us panoramic views of the world, within which settled traditions and vernacular identity exists. Do we have the right and privilege to wreak awesome change upon a landscape which supported and sustained so many people in relative harmony with nature?
I'm always a sucker for interesting dune shots, and these two are among my favorites. Alongside her "project" books, Butler also obviously is building her inventory of classic traditional photographic subjects.