Their Story Matters with Sara Troy and her guest Kimberly Butler, on air from March 27th.
I first heard Kimberly when she was a guest speaker on Deb Drummonds Show Up, Stand Up and Speak up event, (next one April 8th) Kimberly blew me away, but more than that, I felt I heard her from the core of who she is, and of cause I had to interview her.
On this show which is long because we covered so much, we discuss her journey from an orphanage to opening up the biggest doors in the world as a photographer. Her experiences with stars, politicians and Barbara Walters (she was her personal photographer) and the trust they had in her.
We speak about her memoir, the books to come, and her linage which goes back one thousand years, related to royalty, presidents and leaders. Her life has know many struggles, seized opportunities and with a determination to succeed her way, from the very core of her being.
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Photojournalist and celebrity photographer Kimberly Butler has published her first book, “The Art of Fear: A Photographic Memoir”, an epic poem featuring 34 exquisite yet disturbing images – without using Photoshop — where she faces her fears to reveal the childhood trauma she experienced when, at 8 years old, she was removed from her home and placed in Ottilie Orphan Home in Jamaica, New York. The young woman posing in the photographs wearing a gas mask – a metaphor for the protective walls Butler built around her life – is her own daughter, Caitlin, whom she adopted from a Lithuanian orphanage – coincidentally – at the age of 8 years old.
“I wanted to share my journey to help others,” says the award-winning photographer. “Those who are born into circumstances that make life even more difficult than it already is — whether due to dysfunctional childhoods or personal demons. And, of course,” Butler adds, “this turns out to be just about everyone to some degree or another.”
The locations for the photographs in this 104-page softcover book include a collapsed abandoned building, a deserted icy beach during winter, and an empty church and cemetery – each representing the loneliness, isolation, and fear she fought to overcome by using masks to cloak feelings of shame and worthlessness.
“The Art of Fear: A Photographic Memoir” features a foreword by award-winning novelist Neil Gaiman, whom Butler includes in her memoir among the photographs of her daughter. He describes it this way: “Kim produced several gallons of paint, and had me put my hands into the paint, and took photographs of me making marks on the paper floor; and photos of me just watching my hands drip. By the end of that shoot I trusted her completely. And in some odd way, she trusted me.”
Of the collection of photos in “The Art of Fear,” Gaiman writes, “It was stranger, more poetic, at once beautiful and in-your-face, futuristic and old. They seemed like messages from a future in which the air was harder to breathe, in which we were struggling to live in the world we had made…She says I’m her muse, but all I ever do is tell her how beautiful and strange her pictures are, and how hard it is for me to get them out of my head…There is nobody like Kimberly Butler.”
Kimberly Butler has photographed hundreds of celebrities and world leaders including five U.S. presidents. Her credits include covers of New York Times best sellers and gallery shoots for major broadcast networks. She was also a regular contributor to PEOPLE magazine for more than a decade. Butler has traveled extensively in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union as a photojournalist and documentary filmmaker in Jordan, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Chechnya. For the past two decades she has been the creative force behind the American Library Association’s Celebrity READ poster series, exhibited nationwide in public schools and libraries. In 2018 she exhibited her photographic series on banned books in NY called “CENSORED.” Butler is a native New Yorker and lives in Manhattan.
Please reach out to Kimberly in person for her book.
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