Claude “The Master” Butler

Claude “The Master” Butler

Claude “The Master” Butler — shoeblack, counselor & friend, lover of jazz

I met Claude Butler when he 1st moved to Norman in . He had an arrangement with the management at Sooner Fashion Mall (now called “Sooner Mall”) in which they let him set up a shoeshine stand rent-free near the mall’s center court. That arrangement ended in when some corporate bean-counters got wind of it and demanded that Claude either pay rent, or move out. But that was long enough for Claude to make some lasting friendships and loyal clients, including one with Heisman Trophy winner and local businessman Steve Owens, former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer, and Olympic medalist Bart Connor. Your humble chronicler counts himself as a Friend of the Master, as well.

Claude and I really hit it off when we discovered a mutual love for mid-twentieth-century jazz, especially the small ensemble bop and post-bop jazz exemplified by Miles, Trane, Dizzy, Monk, Mingus, and their contemporaries. On occassion, we’ve settled in on my sofa to watch a motion picture biopic of 1 of our jazz heroes. I’ve complained to him about the one time I ever got to see Miles play, only to have the night spoiled by a couple of loud drunks in the audience.

Claude dropped by to ask me for help re-wiring his loudspeakers, so I made us drinks and took this portrait. It was shot on a Wista 45DX field camera with x-ray film. For more on my use of x-ray film, see my OKIE-X project page.

Claude may be found at his shoeshine stand on weekdays at the Midway Grocery and Market, 601 West Eufala Street in Norman, Oklahoma.

  • Lens: Unknown maker 250mm Petzval
  • Aperture: ƒ/4,0
  • Exposure: 1/25th second
  • ISO: 160
  • Exposure Index: 160
  • Lights:
    • Key: Paul C. Buff Einstein -5.2ƒ with silver beauty dish & 30° grid
    • Background: Paul C. Buff Einstein -4.2ƒ with 7″ reflector & 10° grid
    • Fill: 42″ collapsible reflector, silver
  • Film: Carestream CSHB
  • Developer: Pyrocat-HD 1:1:200
  • Development time: semi-stand in an HP-Combiplan daylight tank
  • Scanner: Epson Perfection v850

About the Featured Photograph(s)


M-mount lenses do not provide aperture information to the camera body, either electronically or mechanically. Therefore, f-stop settings are approximate, and are probably wildly inaccurate. For what it’s worth, I usually shoot with my lenses wide open.

  • Claude Butler
  • 45DX
  • ISO:160
  • 250mm
  • 1/25s
  • ƒ/4
  • 35° 12.3667′ 0″ N 97° 25.5333′ 0″ W


International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.