I tend to be attracted to scenes that aren’t naturally beautiful,” says Robert Butler. “As a photographer, I’m looking at nature, the way light interacts with various surroundings, curious characters, or beautiful and dramatic places that we see everyday but never pay much attention to.”

For Butler, photography is a hobby he shares on Instagram while he finishes up graduate school in pursuit of a counseling degree. He describes his work as “dark, colorful and painterly,” combining bold colors with enough grunge and grit to give otherwise familiar urban scenes a post-apocalyptic feel. Inspired by the ways Albert Bierstadt and other Hudson River School artists evoked emotion with their American landscapes, Butler edits his photos with that emotional element in mind. “I longed to create photography that had the same effect with my viewers,” he says. “There is an element of surrealness to my work, with a touch of reality.” 

He’s learned to embrace what the city offers. “To be honest, I wasn’t always inspired by the Amarillo urban landscape. Especially on social media platforms, it was easy to become envious of people who lived in New York or Chicago,” he says. “But as I continued to photograph in Amarillo, something magical began to happen. I began to see how uniquely beautiful the city of Amarillo is.” Walking block after block in the city, seeking beauty beneath the surface, has generated plenty of inspiration.

See more of his work on Instagram and Threads under the moniker @rob.framez. (“My birth name is generic and it was already in use,” he explains.)