DaleDucatte.com

"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
 

Martagon Lilies (2 of 3)

From “Well-Known Lilies” in Lilies by Carl Feldmaier:

“The native Turk’s Cap, Lilium martagon, is… a rather modest bloom, well known only to the initiated. Pharmacists, naturalists, and mountain-climbers value the beauty and individuality of this lily, which is usually concealed beneath hedges and undergrowth and which flourishes in mountainous country at heights varying from low wooded slopes up to the middle ranges. It prefers calcareous soil, or at least calcareous subsoil. To stumble upon it growing wild, with its dull, rose, panicled blooms, under beech trees or among viburnum or buck-thorn, is a rare pleasure: one plant may be densely spotted, the next a little less so, and finally one will find a completely clear pink flower….

“This lily was already well known during the Middle Ages, principally on account of its yellow bulb, and was much sought after for its medicinal properties.”

From “Vespers” by Louise Gluck in Poems 1962-2012:

End of August. Heat
like a tent over
John’s garden. And some things
have the nerve to be getting started,
clusters of tomatoes,
stands of late lilies — optimism
of the great stalks —
but why start anything
so close to the end?


Hello!

This is the second of three posts featuring Martagon Lilies from Oakland Cemetery’s gardens, with photos that I took in late July. The first post is Martagon Lilies (1 of 3), and for the final post I’ll convert some of these to black-background images, as I so often like to do.

As we just yesterday wrapped up Mugshot Week here in the city of Atlanta, I thought you might enjoy reading absolutely nothing about it from me — but instead I decided to share this excerpt about the early history of mugshots, from the book Capturing the Light: The Birth of Photography, a True Story of Genius and Rivalry by Roger Watson and Helen Rappaport. Those often-iconic images emerged alongside daguerrotypes, as a development from portrait photography that was so often the subject of early image-making. The nineteen present-day mugshots were all taken a few miles from my house, with the process mostly outside of public view — except for the former president’s extravagant trip into and out of the city, a spectacle that unfolded surreally along streets and past buildings I recognized — but they’ve achieved notoriety and wide circulation, just like the olden-day mugshots received.

Here is the excerpt, from a chapter entitled “The Mute Testimony of the Picture.”

“When [Henry Fox] Talbot first defined photography’s uses in his 1844 book The Pencil of Nature he had no concept of the many fringe uses to which the form would make a contribution — beyond a conventional role in portraiture, landscapes and architectural views, and the documentation of works of art and scientific collections. His inclusion of the reproduction of works of art foresaw photography taking on the task that engraving and lithography had long held and was one of the most forward-thinking uses of its unique features. Talbot’s notion of keeping a photographic record of one’s valuables, as well as legal documents such as wills and deeds, was a prescient insight into photography’s future, for if such things were ever stolen, ‘the mute testimony of the picture’, when produced against a thief in court would, he asserted, ‘certainly be evidence of a novel kind; but what the judge and jury might say to it, is a matter which I leave to the speculation of those who possess legal acumen’.

“This idea of photography being used in court was truly novel but the photograph’s deployment in crime detection was one of the first and most important offshoots of the new genre, though it didn’t start — as many people assume — with the Rogues Gallery of mug-shots compiled by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, which was the source of the well-known ‘Wanted’ posters seen in westerns later in the century. The Belgian police had been the first to experiment with photography in recording the likeness of criminals around 1843-4, and the Danish police had done likewise in 1851. There is evidence too that in the early 1850s in California the San Francisco Vigilance Committee had daguerreotypes made of offenders, and later in that decade the New York Police Department began keeping a photographic record as well….

“Nevertheless, in the early days the use of photography in crime detection and prevention was basically down to the enterprise of individual police departments and prison officers. One such in England was Captain [George Thomas] Gardiner, the ‘ingenious and excellent governor of Bristol gaol’, who in 1856 ‘possessed himself of a photographic apparatus’ for taking the photographs — at a cost of sixpence each — of those criminals he believed would be most likely to reoffend, so that these could be circulated to other forces….

“This principle had already been successfully put into practice in 1855 by a forward-thinking chief constable in Wolverhampton — Colonel Gilbert Hogg — in the pursuit and arrest of a confirmed female con-artist Alice Grey. Grey’s daguerreotype had been found among her abandoned belongings in a lodging house, but copies could not of course be made from it. The enterprising Hogg therefore took it to the photographer [Oscar Gustave] Rejlander (at that time based in Darlington Street, Wolverhampton), who made a calotype of it and printed twenty copies. When these were circulated to police stations across the country, they revealed a trail of fraud and deception dating back five years; the use of the photograph led directly to Grey’s arrest and successful prosecution.”

Thanks for reading and taking a look!







Martagon Lilies (1 of 3)

From “Lily” in Flowers in History by Peter Coats:

L. martagon (the word comes from the Turkish martagan, a special form of turban adopted by Sultan Muhammed 1) is sometimes thought… to be an English native; but the Turk’s Cap lily is more likely to have been brought by early travellers from Italy, Spain or Turkey….

“It is a tall graceful lily, with many small flowers in pyramidal clusters, each with reflexed petals, which give the individual flowers their likeness to a turban. In color the martagon is usually a rich freckled purple, an unusual mahogany red or waxy white.”

From “There Are Different Gardens” by Carl Sandburg in The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg:

Flowers can be cousins of the stars.
The closing and speaking lips of the lily
And the warning of the fire and the dust —
They are in the gardens and the sky of stars.
Beyond the shots of the light of this sun
Are the little sprinkles, the little twinklers
Of suns to whose lips this lily never sent
A whisper from its closing and speaking lips.


Hello!

Last year when I learned that the Martagon Lilies featured in this post (and the next two) were commonly called Turk’s Cap Lilies (see, for example, Turk’s Cap (Martagon) Lilies (1 of 3), where I first discussed it), I took it for granted that “Turk’s Cap” and “Martagon” were interchangeable names for the same plant — which seemed perfectly reasonable until I found out that other lilies (like Lilium superbum) have also been doffed “Turk’s Cap.” This ambiguity — which is present in the Peter Coats quotation uptop — always bugged me a bit, mainly because I try to get better at correctly identifying the plants and flowers I photograph, even while getting help from sources like PlantNet. So this year I did a little more digging around, to see if I could clear up my name fog over “Turk’s Cap.”

In the book Lilies: Beautiful Varieties for Home and Garden, author Naomi Slade explains that “the classification of lilies is… a bit of a headache.” She continues:

“Generally speaking, [lilies] are placed in one of nine divisions depending on their parentage, then assigned a series of letters that are designed to indicate the shape and habit of the flowers.”

She then describes the nine divisions, pointing out that three of these divisions — Division 2, Division 3, and Division 4 — include lilies with flowers in the Turk’s Cap shape. I was tempted to conclude that only these three divisions contained Turk’s Caps, but pretty quickly discovered that lilies in other divisions — such as Lilium cernuum in Division 5 and Lilium michiganense in Division 6 — bloom in Turk’s Cap shapes too. Ah, well, now I understand why Slade got a headache; but I think the best way to think about this is that “Turk’s Cap” is more properly thought of not as the name of a flower, but as the characteristic shape of some flowers, and what any of us know to be a “Turk’s Cap Lily” is more of a colloquialism, an informal way of referring to specific lilies that may also be localized to where you live (or where you see the lilies).

Slade’s description of the lily divisions is too long to quote here, but Wikipedia also describes the nine divisions (closely mirroring Slade’s explanation) at Lilium: Classification of garden forms — where the photos for lilies in each division are very helpful for visualizing how the similarities among variants get them classified as they are. For my purposes, I think I’ll get in the habit of trying to figure out what lily variant I’ve actually photographed when its shape is a Turk’s Cap, and I landed on Martagon for these lilies because of their dominant purple-red colors; the presence of dark purple (nearly black) spots on some of the flower petals; and the smaller size of the individual flower blooms. Further (though you can’t tell from the closeup photos below) the plant itself stood nearly six feet tall with several dozen blooming stems — both characteristics of (though not exclusive to) Martagon Lilies.

Thanks for reading and taking a look!






Daylilies, Lilies, and Amaryllis on Black (5 of 5)

From “Places of Awe” in Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life by Colin Ellard:

“On Christmas Eve, 1968, Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders took a photograph that was destined to become one of the most famous images in human history. As the tiny spacecraft that he shared with astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell rounded the moon and revealed the blue globe of planet Earth, Anders raised a Hasselblad camera, exclaiming with all the enthusiasm one is likely to ever hear from a fighter pilot with the United States Air Force: ‘There’s the Earth coming up. Wow is that pretty.’

“Although very few of us have been lucky enough to travel into space and experience awe by looking at the Earth from a remote viewpoint, everyone has had experiences that they would categorize as ‘awesome’ (and not just in the recent banal sense of that word). When awe strikes us, we are certain of it. We can be overcome by awe when we encounter a dramatic natural phenomenon such as an inky starlit sky, a thunderstorm, or a majestic view of a mountain range or canyon, or even by simple reflection….

“[We] can also be overcome by awe in built settings…. Such experiences bring us outside the narrow confines of the body space, encouraging us to believe that our existence constitutes more than just a beating heart inside a fragile organic shell. We have a sense of boundlessness as the limitations of time and space that hold us aground are suddenly swept aside.”

From “As Imperceptibly as Grief” in The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson:

As imperceptibly as grief
The summer lapsed away,–
Too imperceptible, at last,
To seem like perfidy.

A quietness distilled,
As twilight long begun,
Or Nature, spending with herself
Sequestered afternoon.

The dusk drew earlier in,
The morning foreign shone,–
A courteous, yet harrowing grace,
As guest who would be gone.

And thus, without a wing,
Or service of a keel,
Our summer made her light escape
Into the beautiful.


Hello!

This is the fifth of five posts where I’ve taken this summer’s daylily, lily, and amaryllis photographs, and recreated them on black backgrounds. This post features a last batch of amaryllis.

The previous posts are Daylilies, Lilies, and Amaryllis on Black (1 of 5), Daylilies, Lilies, and Amaryllis on Black (2 of 5), Daylilies, Lilies, and Amaryllis on Black (3 of 5), and Daylilies, Lilies, and Amaryllis on Black (4 of 5).


The poem from Emily Dickinson above is thematically about the ending of summer — a bit of wishful thinking on my part since we’ve been subjected to more days with excessive heat warnings in July and August than I’ve experienced since moving to the southeast. It does make a guy long for the cooler, breezier days of autumn — and even though those are quite a few weeks off, the slightly shorter days with earlier sunsets are good reminders that the seasonal change will come, just not quite yet.

Thanks for taking a look!






%d bloggers like this: