Life Amid Chaos: George Butler

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“Although the life of living in amongst these collapsed buildings and shelled shops is becoming normality, it must be very difficult for them.”
-George Butler

The work of photojournalists has always been important, but with so many conflicts around the world, it seems more important than ever now; showing us the horrors of war and famine and natural disasters, capturing the details and embedding themselves in places where most of us would be terrified to even step foot in.  Their work is an often immediate representation of things we otherwise couldn’t possibly imagine, usually across the globe from where we are. We have quickly grown accustomed to this immediacy. Often we have photographs from conflict zones within hours, or, in some cases, minutes of when the conflict begins. But, what would happen if the reporting wasn’t done with photographs, but with sketches or paintings? Twenty-seven year old George Butler has a unique career in doing just that. “I would describe myself as a reportage illustrator,” he says, “Composite images; so, the way they appear is not identical to as it happened, but over a period of time they are an experience and a description of the life there.” Using his skill as an artist and illustrator, he has gone to places such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, London, and New York capturing “newsworthy” scenes with his pens and paintbrushes. Syria was his latest project. Traveling under the protection of the Free Syrian Army he was able to capture unique views of how life still goes on for ordinary people in that country. There is a difference to me in seeing a painting of a scene that would normally be photographed. Painting these scenes somehow seems more human; often more personal and perhaps even romanticized. You get more of a sense of what things feel like, versus the captured-in-an-instant, hyperrealistic detail of how they look. Butler describes a painting of a police prison in Azaz, “The man in the front recognized that I was drawing and lay there very still, looking at me. Ten or fifteen minutes later, once I’d stopped, he sort of looked up and inquired in Arabic whether I’d finished and I sort of nodded and he got up and moved. Very kind of compliant and quite friendly in a strange sort of way.” 

 

George Butler

George Butler - Syria

George Butler - Syria

George Butler - Syria

George Butler - SyriaGeorge Butler - Syria George Butler - SyriaGeorge Butler - Syria George Butler - Syria

[via BBC News]

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