Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113: A Labor of Love

This week, our guest host Rusha Sams has picked a wonderful theme which coincides with the Labor Day celebrations in the United States and Canada.  For Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113, she has chosen A Labor of Love, which recognizes people around the globe who have gone the distance or created something that impacts life in a meaningful way.”   Her post highlights a Habitat for Humanity project in Nepal, as well as examples of labors of love in places around the world.  If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to stop by her site, Oh the Places We See.

For my post I have chosen two groups of people:  those in essential services, as well as creative artists who dedicate their lives to their art in service to humankind.  You may be surprised at my second choice, but I promise that my reasons will become clear as you read on.

The pandemic has highlighted the heroism of workers in essential services and the value of their labor: health care workers, who are taking personal risks to deliver treatment to the sick; farm workers who pick the fruit and vegetables that fill our dinner plates; grocery workers who stock the supermarket shelves; food service workers who cook and deliver our meals to the table; teachers who are dedicated to their students and committed to learning;  firemen and police who protect and defend us from danger–among many others. This year, I’m joining the Americans who are recognizing the contribution of these workers to our communities and honoring them on Labor Day.  They are willing to put so much on the line–sometimes even their lives–in service to us, our families, our children.  For them, I am profoundly grateful.

Here’s my collection of people and their labors of love:

Serving meals at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:

Between the Chihuly and Lunch. Shot with a Canon 40D. The MFA Museum, Boston


Offering free samples of ice cream in New York City:

Taking a lunch break on a construction project in Portsmouth, NH:

Walking to the beauty school with wig in hand in Portsmouth, NH:

But honoring them isn’t enough.

This year, we are more keenly aware of the economic and personal toll that the pandemic has placed on workers and their families.  Covid has laid bare the inequities in our societies–in terms of salaries, job opportunities, and access to education and healthcare benefits, which vary greatly based on our ethnicity, our gender, and where we live.  Many people are expected to work under difficult circumstances with inadequate compensation and healthcare benefits.  Sometimes they pay a high price for their labor, including death–which is my interpretation of the billboard pictured below.  Their work may be a labor of love, but people need to be paid fairly, make a living wage, and have opportunities to do meaningful work.   Shouldn’t that be a fundamental right of all workers around the world?

This week, I’m also highlighting artists whose work is also a labor of love, bringing joy and beauty and inspiration to us all.  How much poorer would we be in spirit if Beethoven, Bach or Mozart never composed a sonata or Shakespeare never wrote his plays and sonnets?  I can only hint at the wonder I felt when I stood in the refectory which houses Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper and gazed at his masterpiece.

And the day I gazed upward at Michelangelo’s towering achievement, the statue of David.  My joy was immense.

My awe extends to other creative arts, including fashion.  This wedding dress, designed by Karl Lagerfeld, has a long train of stunning beaded embroidery.


The artist doesn’t need to be famous.  Many anonymous artists have created enduring works which are a tribute to our creative spirit, our search for meaning and purpose.

Egyptian Queen, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


I’ll end my post with this stunning mural, which I almost overlooked when we visited Arezzo in Italy.   It was tucked away in a church, near the bottom of a wall.  A labor of love is like that–it gives us joy and demands nothing in return.  Perhaps that’s why it’s forever etched in our memories and our hearts.

Labor of Love, mural, Arezzo, Italy


I hope you join us this week and explore Rusha’s timely theme, A Labor of Love.  When you publish your post, include the Lens-Artists tag so we can find you in the Reader.  Include your link in the Comments section at the bottom of Rusha’s post.   A very special thanks again to Rusha for leading the challenge this week!

Next week, we return to our regular schedule when Amy leads the challenge.  Until then, have a great weekend, everyone, and keep creating!

93 replies »

  1. “Gives us joy and demands nothing in return” spot on with that Patti! Your post addresses one of the true challenges of our time which thus far remains unresolved. Would that we could find a way to ease the burdens of the more challenged among us. I love that you closed with some of the great masters’ works – for so many of us the joy seen in others’ artistic creations offers a balm in these otherwise troubled times.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Tina. Thanks! I’m glad those words resonated with you! It’s such a strange time. All the inequities are laid bare so clearly and in such stark life and death terms. I find comfort and consolation in the works of great artists–and so do you. (Sigh.). Here’s hoping for some joyful news in the upcoming weeks, months! Take care, too!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Brilliant post, Patti 😃 I think speak for all other essential workers when I say thank you for appreciating the work we all do; we don’t ask for recognition, but it is a lift to get it every once in a while 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Beautiful photos accompany your thoughts and eloquent words. I love the angle you took for first image; the shape, shadow, light, and composition are all perfect. Perfect! The smile of the 2nd one says so much of hope. Thank you, Patti for giving us a chance to enjoy these master art works.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Amy! Wow. Eloquent! I love that. That young woman’s is marvelous, isn’t it? I asked her to pose because I thought she was so beautiful. The first shot was luck–where I was sitting and taking the shot at the right now. I’m delighted the works of the masters “spoke” to you, Amy. They are so honest and breath-taking. It’s wonderful to see your thoughts.


  4. What a glorious response to this week’s challenge: a labor of love. I love your photography, especially the perspective in the first shot, but all of them really. I envy you for seeing The Last Supper and the statue of David — two special labors of love that have endured time and amazed all who have seen these. Your heartfelt tributes to those who serve, those who create, and those who care for others are quite touching — your emotional response is most needed at this time when we appreciate others but really don’t know how to reach out and thank them.
    Again, thank you for allowing me to be the guest host for LAPC. It was a rewarding experience, thanks to the four of you who have paved the way. Best wishes for celebrating Labor Day around the globe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Rusha! I’m beyond happy that you liked my response. I was very fortunate to see those masterpieces. I couldn’t really believe I was standing there in front of them! As for an emotional response….I am emotional about this subject. I’m glad that came through, too. And of course, we’re delighted that you’re hosting this week! It’s wonderful to learn more about you and see how your life experiences shape your outlook in life.😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks again for this opportunity to write and share my photos. But also the opportunity to get to know each and every contributor for their strengths — which are many. Please know that many people are grateful to you and the other three women for providing the challenges. We all need an outlet for our work and a means for expressing our inner thoughts. May you continue for a long, long time! Happy Labor Day!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Vivi! I’m so glad you like this one. I wasn’t sure until the last minute how it was going to turn out! Isn’t that mural powerful? I just found it in my archives this morning in a file from New York City. It fit the theme, I think. I hope all’s well with you in Sweden. Enjoy the last bit of summer!


      • Patti, you always deliver doesn’t matter what theme or topic it’s. NYC has FAB street art. Everything with me, but I feel a bit cold – I think the sunny coffee in backyard is over this year at least I can be ware a thin top while I’m having. We doing regarding the COVID … and I notice that CNN has picked up. Before it was Poor Sweden, now they wonder how we made it work, but it’s not over yet and things can change tomorrow. The same to you, Patti .. enjoy your days, they are precious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Why thank you, Vivi! I’m the world’s worst self critic, so I’m glad to hear that!! It’s so true what you say…it’s not over until it’s over. We are dreaming of traveling again (hopefully) in 2021. Here’s hoping for all of us! Take care, too.


  5. Patti, this is so well written and contains all the feelings there are on a day like today. Your images and choices are perfect. And you are so right, Art is a comforting part of life always, but maybe even more now. A Labour of love. The lovely lady who is smiling so warmly will stay with me for a while – I have returned to her image several times. I know this post was a labour of love from you – it shines through to the full. You are a woman of words – but also of images.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lisa! I don’t take enough people pictures. I am such a coward. But sometimes I ask people and I’m surprised when they say “yes.” It’s a good feeling when we conquer a fear!! Thank you so much for your thoughts on David, too. So many people were taking the shot from the front, so I decided to follow a few photographers who went around to the back. It was an interesting perspective. I hope all’s well with you, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Outstanding series and commentary. A labor of love int its own right. There are many unsung heroes during COVID. I think about my grocery workers once or twice a week when I’m there. Many are older and thus more vulnerable. Many people are keeping the wheels of life going.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, John. Thank you! So true about the grocery workers. I hope that they are safe and fear some of them aren’t. But it’s so much better that we all wear masks inside. That helps. I just wish more people followed the advice of the medical experts. Take care too, and be well.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. what a beautiful response to this challenge, Patti. your photos and eloquence give tribute to the unsung heroes of today. and the artists who selflessly render their gifts for us to enjoy and appreciate beauty. thank you very much. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Margaret. It’s an eclectic selection, it’s true. Everything from Michelangelo to a girl carrying a wig to work!! I guess you can’t get any more eclectic than that!! I always appreciate your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Patti,
    You have so many photographs I love. I’ll speak of one because I know the skill it takes to create the embroidery on
    the wedding dress train. It must have been a very intensive labor of love to complete that many details.
    Oh, and I must mention David … quite a shot … LOL
    Have a wonderful day … Be Safe
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Isadora. Very true about the beading/embroidery. Do you know how to do that? It’s a skill that shouldn’t be lost in fashion design, I think. And I’m glad you like David…from a different perspective. I followed one other photographer who was taking photos from behind the statue. I’m glad I followed him! Everyone else was in front. Thanks again and be safe, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL … it seems many of the photogs were in a different mindset in positioning while capturing the sculpture of David.
        Yes, I do know how to embroider. I used to do it a lot more when I was younger. I have transferred that crativity to knitting now. Busy hands … always enjoy being busy. Keep on clicking … Have a wonderful week … Be Safe
        Isadora 😎


  9. Beautiful shots – both near and far. Yes, a labor of love also deserves a fair and living wage. Our essential workers are often denied both. I love that you included the artists here too, creative spirits all. That mural is breathtaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, OLU! I’m glad we agree on this. The mural was quite faded. (I bumped up the color in PS.). I am so glad it caught my eye and I took a closer look. Don’t you love these surprises? Breathtaking! And I hope all’s well with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is such an awesome post! Beautiful photography! Very inspiring! I have only recently found photography blogs, and I love them! This is such a great way to use your photos without relinquishing control to Instagram or Facebook. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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