Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #37: History

History is who we are and why we are the way we are.~David McCullough

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #37, we invite you to capture history.

History can be personal or public.  It can last for a moment, a decade, or a century.  It is local, national, or international.  It can be a monument, a relic, a person, a place, or a memento.  It’s totally open to your interpretation.

As many of you know, I’m fascinated by history.  I’m on the lookout for those “aha” moments when history reveals itself–like the time I wondered about all those low stone walls scattered about New England.

Lincoln Road, Wayland, MA

It turns out that farmers created these walls to mark their property lines over 150 years ago.  By the middle of the 19th century, settlers had deforested over 70 percent of New England and turned the land into farms. Many of these farms were abandoned by the end of the century–as a result of industrialization.

Here are a few other “aha” historical moments:

This desk, inside the Bruny Island lighthouse, belonged to John V. Cook, a head lighthouse keeper on this remote island south of Tasmania.  I love the details here–the old-fashioned phone, the wooden plaque from 1838, and the wireless radio transmitter.  But the box of pottery and beach glass was the detail that made the difference for me.  I could imagine John Cook collecting these shards of pottery on his many walks on the beach during his years at the lighthouse between 1978 and 1993.

Head Lighthouse Desk, Bruny Island, Australia

The next photo was shot in Port Arthur, Tasmania, selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  What struck me about this place was its beauty, which is overshadowed by its somber history–both modern and colonial.  In the 1800’s, Port Arthur was Australia’s most infamous penal colony for prisoners deported from the United Kingdom. This church, built by convicts, burned down in 1884, but it was partially restored in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  In more recent history, Port Arthur was the location of Australia’s deadliest mass shooting in 1996.

Church Fire, Port Arthur, Tasmania

Does this shirt look familiar?  It belonged to Nelson Mandela, the political leader of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.   A recent exhibit “Mandela My Life” at Melbourne’s History Museum in Australia focused on Mandela’s evolution from a radical and political prisoner to the country’s first black head of state.  Mandela commissioned the first Madiba shirt to embody his freedom to create his own unique style and perhaps his sense of humanism.  I loved the collection of his belongings, including several of his famous shirts, as well as his meticulously polished shoes–which he cleaned and buffed every day.  These details revealed so much about him.

Nelson Mandela’s Madiba Shirt, Melbourne Museum, Australia

Lisbon has survived for thousands of years.  It was founded by the Phoenicians and the Celts, and endured a series of invasions by the Romans, Germanic tribes, the Moors, the Spanish, Napoleon, and the British.  It was rebuilt after a deadly earthquake, tsunami and fire, which nearly destroyed the city over 3 successive days in 1755.   In recent history, it has recovered from decades of a repressive fascist regime.

For me, the spirit of regeneration was most evident in this church, Igregja Sao Domingos. It survived major earthquakes in 1531 and 1755 and a fire in 1959.   If you look closely, you can see evidence of the fire, which scorched the marble and burned wooden sections of the building.  The parishioners decided to reopen the church and not restore the charred remains of the relics, paintings and statues.  The smell of smoke still lingers in the air.

Igregja Sao Domingos, Lisbon.

This week, it’s your chance to show us what history means to you.  In your post, include a link to this week’s theme and be sure to tag it “Lens-Artists,” so it’s easy to find in the Reader.

On next Saturday, March 23rd, Ann-Christine will post theme #38.

If you’re new to the challenges, here’s our monthly theme calendar:
Week 1–Patti of https://pilotfishblog.com/

Be sure to subscribe to all 4 blogs to receive the weekly challenges.

Have an inspiring week!

171 replies »

    • Hi, Jane. Thank you! I can only imagine how many Australians are wondering how this young man was radicalized in their country. Then again, access to the web is universal. I hope you can go to Lisbon. Its history is fascinating and its people are warm and friendly. It’s like stepping into the past!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Love your post, and the great photography! The church is just fantastic and so is its history. How wonderful to have been to a Mandela exhibition! I loved his shirts, but I did not know he ordered his Madibas to create his own style. So much we do not know, isn’t there? That is why this theme is so interesting – thank you for another opportunitiy to learn more from each other!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great theme this week and your variety here is nice –
    Top two takeaways are the 150 yr old stone borders and the Nelson Mandela shirt….
    I’ll have my post on Monday
    Happy weekend

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a good post. I think it’s worth noting, in the light of current events, that the massacre at Port Arthur resulted in a deep and lasting change to Australia’s gun ownership laws.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved the diversity you highlighted here. And like with Mandela’s polished shoes, it’s neat the way the details tell so much about a person or a place. Thank you for hosting the challenge. It’s interesting to read (and see) the different directions a prompt will go. For my take, I focused on Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico and how – as is so often the case in Nature – its history reflects our own. https://soanuthatch.com/2019/03/17/why-we-rock/

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is fascinating how many directions a theme can take us! Thanks for joining in and sharing your lovely, thoughtful post, Lindsay. I enjoyed the glimpse of your life too. Quite an adventure, isn’t it?


  5. ItIt’s an interesting idea this, and I’ve been wondering about joining in.

    So… (sorry being a bit thick – relatively new to this whole WordPress thing) – How does this work then. I follow your blog (and the other 3), read the challenges take some photo’s and ??? Do I just post up a response under the challenge with a link or do I use a # or ping back??? (not sure what that is anyway 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Stuart. Welcome! It takes a little time to get used to creating posts and links, but it’s really pretty easy. 1. Yes, subscribe to our 4 sites. We rotate posting the challenge, and we always follow the same order. So, Ann-Christine (Leya) will post the next challenge #38 on her blog and after that, Amy will post #39. 2. Create a new post on the theme on your website. 3. Include a link in your post to the weekly Lens-Artist theme. 4. Go to that week’s Lens-Artist theme post by one of us 4 moderators, write a comment and include the link to your new post on that theme. If I can be any further help let me know. I think there are also videos on the web which go through the step by step. Just Google “posting on Word Press” or something along those lines. Looking forward to your post…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. re. penal colony in Port Arthur, Tasmania:

    When I visited friends in Perth in 2012, I marvelled at nearby Freo. I visited the Fremantle Prison, also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site listing for “Australia’s Convict Sites” which includes Port Arthur. It may not surprise you I still have a huge chunk of photos from my visit to select, curate, and edit. 😉Patti, thanks for your post and this week’s LAPC.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely photos, Patti! Your photo of the lighthouse keeper’s desk reminds me of a book I read about a lighthouse keeper also just off the coast of Australia, near Tasmania. It’s The Light Between Two Oceans. What a tremendous read! (The movie was less engaging.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the book recommendation. 😊I am always reading. 😊. Bruny Island is just off the coast. Sounds like the same place!! Hope all is well with you. Is it spring yet? I am sure you are very ready to go birdwatching.


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