Enchantments: Julian Dimock’s Photographs of Southwest Florida is a magical book turning the pages of southwest Florida history back more than 100 years. Jerry Milanich and Nina Root have assembled photographs which invite daydreams of our Florida long altered by time. The authors selected some 100+ photographs from the Julian Dimock collection of thousands. The book is a remarkable weaving of landscape, people, birds and animals into a seductive trip through time of Marco Island, the Everglades, and the Ten Thousand Islands.
The cover photo of three girls, dressed in their finery, on the Marco Island beach captivates my imagination. I keep thinking of the Swiss Family Robinson and castaways but know reality has to be something simpler like a visit to the beach after church. However, June 6, 1907 was a Thursday. Some mystery lingers.
My favorites photos are the jumping tarpon; a boy diving from a sailboat’s rigging; a pet bobcat onboard a boat (the cat heard a rooster soon afterward and dove into the water, swimming to shore in pursuit); three young tricolored herons whose mother had forgotten to brush their crops; a prospering pineapple plantation (later destroyed by salt water from a hurricane); crocodiles (when did they disappear?); hunting for honey trees; moonshiner camp; Seminole men trudging through the Everglades after buying supplies at a trading outpost; and the photo of Edgar Watson, notorious bad guy, who was killed by his Chokoloskee Bay neighbors in 1910. The photos stand alone, but are enriched by excerpts from original magazine articles written by the Dimocks.
Anybody perusing this book would have their own favorites. Enchantments would be a fine addition to anybody’s library and even stowed on a coffee table for the enjoyment of guests. I have hope that Jerry Milanich and Nina Root will publish more of the Dimock photos in the future.
In addition to the inevitable change and development in southern Florida, water levels have risen 9 inches in the last 100 years, altering the landscape and making many of the views non-reproducible.
Published by University Press of Florida.