Portfolio Naples October 2017 - Page 55

e Seminole Indians had not forgotten the wars of the 1830s and early 1840s and the mid-1850s, when federal and state troops had invaded interior south Florida. Under- standably, the Seminoles remained extremely suspicious of white people like the Dimocks who traveled there, thinking they might be federal agents. It is a tribute to both the Seminoles and to Julian and A. W. that the latter were allowed to travel reasonably freely to Seminole camps and take photographs. As a consequence, Julian’s photographs of Semi- nole Indians provide an unparalleled visual record of the Seminole people just prior to the time when the United States’ frontier moved into southern Florida, bringing with it efforts to drain, ditch, and dike large por- tions of the area, altering the centuries-old water regime. A selection of those Seminole Indian photographs, each with Julian’s infor- mation about the individuals depicted and the date and place each photograph was taken, can be found in our book Hidden Seminoles: Julian Dimock’s Historic Florida Photographs (2011). Julian not only used his camera to docu- ment the Seminole Indians; he also pho- tographed white and African American people and their activities on Marco Island and at Henderson Creek and Deep Lake Plantation on the mainland. In the Ten ousand Islands, he spent considerable ef- fort photographing rookeries of the birds then being threatened by plume hunters. Several of his illustrated articles decried the slaughter of thousands of birds to satisfy the demands of haute couture in New York and Europe. Julian also sought to record information about other southwest Florida animals, includ- In August 1907 with Charley Tommy, a Seminole Indian man, as their guide (standing on left), the Di- mocks planned to use canoes to cross the Everglades from the Ten ousand Islands to Miami. ey took the Irene south from Marco Island into the Ten ousand Islands, anchored, and unloaded the small craft. e motorboat towed the canoes up Rocky Creek (shown here) as far as possible, and then the Dimocks set out to the east. e two crewmen from the Irene took the motorboat back to the houseboat and returned to Marco Island. Just as Charley Tommy had warned them, the Everglades were too dry to traverse even in canoes, and the expedition was abandoned nine days later. August 12, 1907; 48367. ing manatees, alligators, and crocodiles. Man- groves and other plants caught his camera’s eye as well. e most photographed resident of southwest Florida, however, one that Julian and his father spent literally months taking pictures of, was Megalops atlanticus, the Atlantic tarpon. To photograph a tarpon, one first had to catch the animal—not an easy task—and then wait for him to jump. Julian and his father both be- came expert tarpon fishermen, and Julian be- came an even more expert tarpon photographer, taking hundreds of shots of leaping tarpon and even writing magazine articles on how best to capture a tarpon in midleap. His father went one better. In 1911, he published e Book of the Tarpon (illustrated by Julian), which, a century later, is still in print and a favorite of anglers. Julian was a gifted photographer whose fa- ther dubbed him “the camera-man.” A. W., whose skill was writing, called himself “the scribe.” His magazine articles and Julian’s photographs together are an enchantment, a fascinating record of a time and place that still delights us today. S OUTHWEST F LORIDA T RAVELS When Julian and A. W. Dimock traveled to southwest Florida, they apparently spent little or no time in Fort Myers, which was simply their jumping-off place for Marco Is- land and southwest Florida. To reach Fort Myers from their homes in New York, Julian and his father took a train or steamship to Jacksonville, then a train to Fort Myers. At Punta Rassa at the mouth of the Caloosa- hatchee River west of Fort Myers, they bought a ride on the mail boat that took them and their supplies—including Julian’s cameras, tripod, boxes of glass plates, and chemicals needed for processing the plates— to Marco Island 40 miles south. e total cost of the round trip from New York to Marco and return was $71 (New York to Jacksonville and back, $50; train to Fort Myers and back to Jacksonville, $16; round- trip mail boat to Marco, $5). Still another al- ternative was to travel from New York to Key West by sea and then take a smaller boat to Marco Island, but the Dimocks clearly did not relish that itinerary, noting that the boats from Key West to Marco were home to hordes of cockroaches. ey also preferred taking a steamship to Jacksonville because the trains from New York were uncomfort- able and often hot. Either way, the transition from life in New York City to the Florida frontier must have been jarring at best. On Marco Island, the Dimocks likely stayed at the twenty-room Marco Hotel, PORTFOLIO MAGAZINE 53