Born in England in 1949, Robert Butcher migrated to Australia in 1964. There, following an industrial machine accident, he was given his first camera by his father—a Minolta rangefinder adapted so Robert could shoot with one hand. He returned to England in 1967 to study photography at Twickenham College of Technology just outside London.
After traveling back to Australia in 1971, he embarked on a career as a fashion, advertising and music photographer, shooting throughout 70s and early 1980s. His photography credits of this time include such titles as Australian Vogue, Mode, and Cleo magazines. His album cover work of the period includes the award-winning photo for the Midnight Oil album cover Place Without a Postcard, among others.
Relocating to New York City in 1983, he immersed himself in NYC’s downtown, shooting for magazines such as Details, New York Talk, Paper, the New York Waste and the Village Voice, along with local fashion designers. His portrait work of this period includes photographs of downtown rockers, and various infamous beauties of the East Village.
A shot of one of these tattooed sirens, Nadège (R.I.P.), came to the attention of Outlaw Biker magazine, initiating Butcher’s tattoo photo period, in which he brought a fashion sensibility to tattoo photography.
In the 2000s, he launched the Strychnin art gallery in Berlin, and his own magazine company, Veer. He published the counter-culture art magazine Tear, for which Butcher photographed artists such as Mark Ryden, Elizabeth McGrath, and Joe Coleman among others. Inspired by these artists, and many others whom he’s encountered throughout his life, he’s now creating his own photographic-based art, using digital photography techniques and mixed media, as well as short films.
Butcher is a recipient of an Acker Award for Avant Garde Excellence (2016).