Photography sans cameras lenses, computers.
Robert Buelteman is a celebrated fine art photographer whose works connect audience to subject in an emotionally transcendent manner, in the traditions of eastern wisdom and western revelation. Whether examining the spirit of the landscape or inquiring into the design of nature, his work is a powerful extraction of beauty and substance revealing unrecognized dimensions in the commonplace.
Mr. Buelteman developed his affection for nature as a child growing up in the 1950’s in a small town on the peninsula south of the city of San Francisco. From his family home he looked out on the Santa Cruz Mountains, whose deep canyons, redwood groves, and daily tides of ocean-borne fog inspired the veneration of life and light that appear in his work today.
He has published fifteen photographic portfolios over his forty years in photography, and three of these, The Unseen Peninsula (1994), Eighteen Days in June (2000), and Signs of Life (2009) were published monographs. In 1999, Buelteman left photographic tradition behind in creating Through the Green Fuse, a portfolio of energetic photograms made without cameras, lenses, or computers.
Working directly with large sheets of photographic film, living plants are used as a filter through which high-voltage electricity and fiber-optically-delivered light are passed. The resulting images open a window on life’s mystery, and were compared by the Los Angeles Times with photographs of our universe made by the Hubble Telescope.
Because of this new work, Mr. Buelteman was invited to be a guest at the world-renowned Santa Fe Institute in 2003. Three years later, he completed work on two new portfolios, Sangre de Cristo, the flora of Santa Fe, and Rancho Corral de Tierra, the flora of his hometown of Montara, located on the North coast of California.
In 2007 after a period of declining health, he was diagnosed with Neurologic Lyme Disease, bringing an end to the most productive period thus far in his career. From 2010 - 2014 he was a guest at Stanford University’s highly restricted Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, where his disability provided a newfound humility while deepening his creative curiosity.
He has led workshops at Stanford University as well as the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, California, covering landscape and cameraless imaging, as well as making broader inquiries into what it means to be creative, to be an artist.
Institutions as diverse as the United States Congress, Commonwealth Club of California, Committee for Green Foothills, and the Natural Resources Defense Council have acknowledged his unique talents. His art has been the subject of dozens of essays in over 26 languages on six continents around the globe, and can be found in public and private collections worldwide, including the Yale University Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Accel-KKR, Bank of America, Abingworth, Adobe Systems, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Stanford University, Xerox, and Nikon.