The Fine Food Art of Robert Buelteman

September 14, 2016
Share to printerest Share to fb Share to twitter Share to mail Share to print

Robert Buelteman is a widely collected fine art photographer whose works connect audience to subject in an emotionally transcendent manner consistent with the traditions of eastern wisdom and western revelation. Whether examining the grand landscape of the West or inquiring into the life of plants, his art is a powerful extraction of beauty and substance revealing unrecognized dimensions in the commonplace.

Buelteman discovered his love of the land as a child growing up in the town of Woodside at the edge of Silicon Valley. 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 15 photographic portfolios over his 40 years in photography, and three of these, The Unseen Peninsula (1994), Eighteen Days in June (2000) and Signs of Life (2009) were published as award-winning monographs. In 1999, Buelteman left photographic tradition behind in creating Through the Green Fuse, a portfolio of unique photograms made without cameras, lenses or computers. This month’s cover, Cynara scolymus, the formal botanical name for the common artichoke, is one such image.

A recent review in Wired magazine describes the technique as “a combination of Frankenstein and Georgia O’Keeffe . . . so dangerous and laborious that no one else will attempt it—even if they could get through all the steps.” Each image can take as many as 100 attempts before Buelteman has a piece worthy of exhibition. He regards these camera-less works as an expression of his biophilia, capturing that ineffable quality that Dylan Thomas called “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower.”

In 2010, as a guest at Stanford University’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Buelteman began work on a new collection of work, deepening his artistic inquiry into the design of life. This evolving portfolio, Life and Shadow, sees the native flora of the Peninsula as only Buelteman could. These new works will be exhibited in the summer of 2013 at exhibitions hosted by Stanford University, and Buelteman will make a public presentation at Annenberg Auditorium on the evening of Tuesday, May 14.

In Silicon Valley, his black-and-white landscapes grace the walls of Woodside’s Village Pub, the Rosewood Spa in Menlo Park and Town in San Carlos. His unique cameraless imagery can be found in the collections of Intel, Western Digital, Adobe, Stanford Medical Center, Xerox PARC, El Camino Hospital, as well as public and private collections worldwide, including Yale University Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Bank of America and Nikon.

This work can be seen at, and his monographs can be acquired through his publisher’s website, Visits to his coastside studio in Montara are welcomed and available by appointment only.

Article from Edible Silicon Valley at
Build your own subscription bundle.
Pick 3 regions for $60