Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in an Age of Uncertainty: No. 14 (“Black” Dahlia Photomontage)

02 October 2017


Taken in Polamatic and edited in Snapseed, Pixlr and FX Photo Studio.

Black Dahlia Photomontage; All Rights Reserved 2017 Sally W. Donatello

“Black” Dahlia Photomontage; All Rights Reserved 2017 Sally W. Donatello

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request.


Some dreams can be realized, and sometimes it takes a leap through memory to tap an unlikely forecast. Black flowers really do not exist. The Queen of the Night tulip that graces by spring gardens can appear noir, but in reality it’s a sensational deeply intense purple.

Its presence brings pause to recognize how color can sway our senses and thoughts. To color personality is evident by our outer choices. The inner hues may be different, depending on our own idea of self. Gardens are similar, they reflect our sensibilities and palettes, and definitely are a major part of my selections.

Color reigns. And by definition black is the absence of color, not the combination that is strutted by white. While I was creating the photomontage, I intuitively added layers. Then the conversion of the white dahlia to black was a stroke of the moment:  it belonged more than just in the realm of my fantasies.

The image became the flower that I’ve imagined exists somewhere, but alas does not. As the tulip, which seems black, a real black dahlia is either dark burgundy, maroon or red. That darkness is still revealed as color, and is not true black as we perceive it.

It’s all about pigment and science explains it. Still, with the kinds of dahlias (20,000) that exist only about twenty have an appearance that we can pretend is black. So I made my own, an image to reflect the idea of an idea.


“All is connected… no one thing can change by itself.” ~~ Paul Hawken

“The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them.”  ~~ Paul Hawken

Paul Hawken, who is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist and author, has devoted his life to sustainability and redefining the relationship between business and the environment. Generally, he is optimistic about the chances that humanity can alter the course that we have created. His latest book, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming (2017), proposes 100 solutions, which are based on experts in the fields of climate and environment. These solutions are supported by critical policy and science, will turn–he says–the course to reduce global warming. Examples of themes in his book include energy, food, women and girls, land use, and transport.

If you want to learn more about his ideas, go to the Yale E360, which is an online magazine from Yale University’s School of Forestry & Environmental Science. It’s definitely worth the read to discover ways that individuals can make a difference.

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Digital Art, Gardens and Gardening, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Photomontage, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in an Age of Uncertainty: No. 14 (“Black” Dahlia Photomontage)

  1. prior.. says:

    lovely edit on that flower – and perfect for the pens part (as usual – I know you pair the lens and pens with care) – and love this quote so much:

    “All is connected… no one thing can change by itself.” ~~ Paul Hawken

  2. Tina Schell says:

    Must admit I’m not drawn to the black dahlia but you’ve captured it beautifully Sally. As Janet said tho, it does address the current situation, doesn’t it?

  3. Su Leslie says:

    Beautiful ethereal image Sally. Thanks for the Hawken link. 🙂

    • Nicole, hope that you are enjoying the move into autumn. Thanks so much for your response to my image.

      • thirdeyemom says:

        Yes, I am. Our colors have not started this year though and I’m hoping we don’t miss out! It has been a very warm September. Yes I loved your image. The darkness fit my mood after all the tragic news. But I found beauty in it and peace.

      • Nicole, I appreciate your comment. We both need a hard frost to bring those dazzling colors to the forefront, but for now I’m enjoying gorgeous weather in the low 70s.

  4. Cecilia says:

    What a fantastic picture, I’m mysteriously drawn to it.

  5. Thank you as always for the powerful and inspiring link. Your “black” dahlia is a portal into the realms of true fantasy.

  6. restlessjo says:

    It’s a striking image, Sally. The ‘black’ gleams! And yes- another day of tragedy. Where on earth will it all end?

  7. so very true, how colour and textures affect us. Beautiful Sally!

  8. DG MARYOGA says:

    So beautiful and mysteriously appealing,Sally.It exudes exoticism and a sense of drama.I’ve seen black,black flowers only in art and literature,especially in Gothic fiction.Incredible the outcome of your work on a White Dahlia.

  9. A beautiful montage, Sally. I love these full dahlias. Along with Janet, I say how terrible it is that once again we mourn so many of the innocent through one senseless act of brutality. 😦

  10. The (beautiful) black dahlia is a perfect vehicle for representing my feelings this morning upon reading about the shootings in Las Vegas.


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