Thursday, June 29

The photography of Jackie Bailey Labovitz

Lilium canadense
A Chance Viewing of Nature's Gems: 
A Photography Exhibit at The Cosmos Club
in Washington D.C. by Jackie Bailey Labovitz
Cypripedium acaule
I had the opportunity to stay as a guest at the lovely and historic Cosmos Club in Washington DC this week.  More about this fascinating private club later since there is much to share about this beautiful mansion which harkens back to another era, with architecture to prove it.  One of the more modern features of the club is their commitment to collaborate with the artistic and educational community by bringing in a plethora of programs and art exhibitions for members.  Today, we highlight the ethereal photography of an in-house gallery showing of Jackie Bailey Labovitz's works.  

History and art meld together nicely in the exhibit featured in the dining room at the Cosmos Club.  Here we see the beautiful photographs by Jackie Bailey Labovitz, exotic plants she investigated and beautifully captured mostly native Lady's Slippers but others as well all mentioned by Thomas Jefferson in his correspondence.  An important historical note is that in 1792, one of these rare woodland perennials--Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylia)-- was named to honor Jefferson by Benjamin Smith Barton, the "Father of American Botany".  

Jeffersonia diphylla or Twinleaf's leaves are divided appearing to be a pair. It is a rare flower protected by laws in at least four states.  
about Thomas Jefferson's correspondence... "The papers of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), diplomat, architect, scientist, and third president of the United States, held in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, consist of approximately 27,000 items. Dating from the early 1760s through his death in addition to important historical correspondence, he daily recorded the weather; many charts, lists, tables, and drawings recording his scientific and other observations; notes; maps; recipes; ciphers; locks of hair; wool samples; and more".    - Library of Congress archives
Over six years, Labovitz searched for these hidden gems often discovering them beneath the leaves and under the forest floor.  This photograph collection works as a lovely archive of these nature's wonders. What is most fascinating about the  photographs is how Labovitz micro-focuses the flower itself with her lens leaving the background muted and slightly out of focus, which gives the pieces a dream-like while showcasing the flower. 

The exhibition called Understory, celebrates the short perennial lives of these native plants and was originally on display at the Smithsonian National Museum, as well as at the United States Botanical Garden, and then was  included in the "Best DC Photography Exhibits of 2013" by Louis Jacobson of the Washington City Paper. The exhibit is on up at the Cosmos Club through October 2017.  

a little bit about the artist...after growing up in rural Virginia and graduating with a degree in fine arts, Labovitz completed a fellowship at the National Endowment for the arts.  She now uses her trained and artist eye to photograph native flora and fauna, and works without a flash and with a lens open at f/6.3 at 300 mm to create her unique works. 
Happy Nesting
XO Tamara

Impatiens capensis
Lilium superbum
Sanguinaria canadensis
Cypripedium parviflorum
Erythronium americanum