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

White Amaryllis, in Black-and-White

From On Light and Shadow by Michael Freeman:

“If the subject is unusual, and photographed in a way that isn’t completely obvious, there’s an advantage to flat, axial lighting in that it takes away the modelling clues that we would normally expect, and helps the image to be a little ambiguous. This isn’t so unexpected, because whatever basic image quality you remove from shooting, what remains steps up to be more prominent.

“In the same way, if you remove colour from imagery and shoot in black and white, the qualities of shape, form and line take over more.”


For this post, I converted the color images from the previous post (see White Amaryllis) to black and white. While it may seem a little odd to render photos of white flowers this way, it’s interesting, I think, to see how flowers we consider white are actually a blend of white, yellow, and green — especially along those sections of the flower blossoms closest to the leaves and stems.

With that in mind, I included two extra galleries at the end of this post: one showing the color and black-and-white versions side-by-side, and a slideshow (using the “fade” effect that’s available with the WordPress slideshow block) that helps highlight the transition from color to monochrome.

Thanks for taking a look!

White Amaryllis

From “Inside Amaryllis” in Amaryllis by Starr Ockenga:

“Flowering plants are divided into two classes: monocotyledons and dicotyledons. The amaryllis is classified among the monocotyledons, which typically have seeds with a single cotyledon, or seedleaf. Its foliage is narrow with parallel veins. The flower components come in multiples of three. The sepals, collectively called the calyx, are outermost; the petals, together called the corolla, form the inner circle and are sometimes narrower in form….

“Amaryllis’ sepals and petals, which are together referred to as tepals, come in an enormous range of colors from the most pastel pink to vivid orange, from clear white to velvety red. Many, particularly when kissed by the sun, have an iridescent glow. The ridge in the center of each petal is the keel, shaped like that of a boat. Flowers are horizontal to drooping, trumpet-shaped, or borne in lily-like umbels. Some flowers are open-faced, while others are more closed and irregular, like orchids.”


There are lots of new barely-pronounceable words in the quotation at the top of this post! Click the Wikipedia links if you would like to learn more about the botanical terms for the parts of these flowers.

The flowers in this post are likely a variant of crinum, but I liked the sound of the word “amaryllis” better as the title of the post; and since crinum is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family, I’m being approximately accurate. There were very few white flowers left when I took these photos; their petals seem more thin and fragile than all the red, pink, and magenta amaryllis I photographed, and most had been too damaged by rounds of August and September thunderstorms to make suitable pictures. But I did manage to cobble together enough for one post, and will have a second post with black-and-white conversions.

I think I’m a mite envious of all the autumn color photos starting to appear on other people’s sites, as it only this week turned cold enough here in the urban Atlanta jungle for the leaves to start changing their outfits. There’s a little bit of red and yellow popping up, but not enough to get my camera’s attention so far. So I’ll round out the next week or two with some late-blooming southern flowers: the always-reliable lantana and canna lily (not a lily!), and the tiny trumpet-flowers of dipladenia, a shrubby relative of the fast-growing mandevilla. These plants — the first two are perennial versions and the other two are annuals — all last until well after our first cold nights, and often keep blooming into November even if we have a couple of freezies.

Thanks for reading and taking a look!

Red and Pink Amaryllis, in Black-and-White (3 of 3)

From “Amaryllis Through the Centuries” in Amaryllis by Starr Ockenga:

“Amaryllis: elegant, sensual, and mysterious….

“According to the classical poets Theocritus, Ovid, and Virgil, Amaryllis was a virginal nymph, timid and shy but with a spine of steel. She fell deliriously in love with Alteo, an icy-hearted shepherd reputed to be as handsome as Apollo and as strong as Hercules, and determined that she would be true only to him, no matter what the consequences. Indifferent to her charms, Alteo claimed his only desire was that a new flower be brought to him, a flower that had never before existed in the world….

“Amaryllis consulted the Oracle at Delphi and was instructed to pierce her heart with a golden arrow at Alteo’s door. This she did, dressed in maiden’s white, for thirty consecutive nights, dripping blood all the while. The shepherd finally opened his door to discover a flower with crimson petals, which had sprung from the blood of Amaryllis’s heart.”


This is the last of three posts showing black-and-white conversions of the color photos I uploaded to:

Red and Pink Amaryllis (1 of 3);

Red and Pink Amaryllis (2 of 3); and

Red and Pink Amaryllis (3 of 3).

The first post in this black-and-white series is Red and Pink Amaryllis, in Black-and-White (1 of 3) and the second post is Red and Pink Amaryllis, in Black-and-White (2 of 3).

Thanks for taking a look!

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