“Woman with dahlias,” ca. 1930, by Doris Ulmann, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
In this beautiful portrait of an older Appalachian women, you can just see her stand of dahlias behind her.
In the traditional language of flowers, the dahlia is usually said to represent dignity, sometimes elegance.
A well-to-do New Yorker, Doris Ulmann trained as an art photographer with Clarence H. White in the 1910s. In the 1920s, she began traveling to the southeast to photograph rural people, particularly in the hills of Kentucky and the Sea Islands of South Carolina — people “for whom life had not been a dance.” She also documented Appalachian folk arts and crafts, working with musician and folklorist John Jacob Niles.