October 15, 2019 —By Resident Susan Richardson —
A stunning series of nature photographs is currently on exhibition in the Gallery corridor at Kendal at Granville. All of the photographs, the work of a Kendal resident, have been taken on the community’s grounds, and they include wildflowers, pond scenes, and most dramatically, a broad range of colorful butterflies captured as they light upon flowers to gather pollen.
Every photograph is a work of art; the composition and focus, the vivid combination of color of butterfly and blossom make each one an object of beauty. However, the photographer also has extensive knowledge about his subjects—their identification, their uses or habits, and their habitat— and he shares some of that knowledge with viewers.
Next to the photo of the delicate “Fairy Spud,” for example, is a label that gives the Latin name (Claytonia virginica) and information that the Iroquois used the plant medicinally for children with convulsions or for adults as a contraceptive, that the Algonquin people cooked them like potatoes, and that the naturalist Euell Gibbons writes of eating the plant “boiled, fried, or mashed” in his book “Stalking the Wild Asparagus.”
Next to the dramatic photo of a Black Swallowtail butterfly upon a brilliant rose-colored flower, we learn that the butterfly has a wingspan of 6.9-8.4 cm, and that females are typically larger than males. The upper wing surface is black with two rows of yellow spots, large and bright in males, smaller and lighter in females. Also, because females have a prominent blue area between the rows while males have a much less prominent blue, we know that this photo is of a male.
At points along the long corridor of photos, the artist also posts cards with additional points of interest. For example, one card asks us “Did You Know” that “Butterfly wings move in a figure ‘8’ motion.” That “Butterfly eyes are made of 6,000 lenses and can see ultraviolet light.” And that “Butterflies and insects have their skeletons on the outside of their bodies, called the exoskeleton. This protects the insect and keeps water inside its body, so it doesn’t dry out.”
This combination of beauty and of natural information creates a rich experience for the viewer of these magnificent photos.
The public is invited, as with all of the Kendal Gallery shows, to visit the exhibition. The photos will be on view through February 2018. The Gallery corridor extends from the front of the main building back past the Wellness Office to the Fitness Room. All are welcome.