I realized just last night that I forgot all about my photography birthday! It was my third birthday on the 24th… shame on me for forgetting, but good for Geoff for bringing home cupcakes tonight! :) It’s strange when I think that I’ve only been shooting for three years… in some ways it feels like I’m still learning so much but in on the other hand, I can hardly believe there was a time when I wasn’t shooting.
I believe that I will soon have some very exciting good news to share, which relates to shooting… either way, I think this third year is going to be a very fruitful one! I am also excited to finally have some “real” lights to use, although I’m also intimidated to learn them. You may soon see a multitude of Calantha photos as I test the lights and gels out.
Speaking of my dear girl, I wanted to share some of the snapshots I took on her birthday!
And to address Jeannee‘s question in my last post, here is the story of how she came to be called Calantha.
I have been such a huge fan of George Gordon Lord Byron, (and yes, my cat Byron is named after him) the 19th century poet, ever since I first came across a poem of his called The Prisoner Of Chillon in a poetry collection I was reading when I was about 14. I instantly fell in love with his writing, and when I studied his further a year or two later in a British Literature class, I was hooked. One of the things that really keeps me so interested in him is who he was as a person; a very complicated, passionate man, deeply flawed, yes, but also capable of incredible kindness and brilliance. Reading about his life, you can imagine him as an actual, living person, not some austere, aloof, pure “person in my history book.“ If you’d known him, you probably would have liked him a lot, although he also would have driven you crazy at times, and made you throw your hands up at the poor decisions he was making. But you’d love him, and want to protect him in spite of it, as was vividly displayed by a number of his close friends, both through his life, and especially at his death. And the words he wove together… no one can compare with his poetry. So visceral, beautiful, moving, evocative, utterly exuberant and heartbreakingly tragic. He made magic with his words.
That, of course doesn’t explain Calantha by itself, but it’s laying the groundwork. Byron had countless love affairs over his life, often with married women. One particularly torrid and tempestuous one was with Caroline Lamb (who famously described Byron as “‘mad, bad and dangerous to know”) the wife of famed Romantic poet William Lamb. It was the worst-kept secret affair; pretty much everyone knew they were together, including, it’s rumored, William Lamb, who seemed to have no desire to interfere with the lovebirds, for unknown reasons. Eventually the bright flame of their love extinguished and they were both burned in their parting. A short while later, Caroline wrote an extremely thinly veiled account of their affair in a book she had published, Glenarvon. Glenarvon, the title character, is assumed to be Byron, and Caroline’s fictional stand-in is named Calantha.
I have not come across the name in any other context, except for the odd baby-naming books, which classify it as French and define its meaning as “beautiful blossoms.” And for me, it was exactly the right name for my Cal. It has a lovely, elegant sound, and she looks lovely and elegant. And that it is a very obscure and round-about Byron reference sealed it for me.
Thankfully, my Calantha is much, much more emotionally stable than poor Caroline, who seems to have had a mostly unhappy life. The worst Calantha gets is getting fussy when she thinks it’s dinner time and dinner is not being provided or the occasional long car ride or vet visit. I don’t think she complains too much.