LAPC #199: Mechanical, Industrial

For this challenge, consider subjects reflecting industry or items that are mechanical in nature. Consider images of local agricultural or industrial buildings or a macro shot of the gears in a watch. Maybe it’s images of a nearby historical park where volunteers “recreate” life in an earlier time. How about the engine of a passing train, or a shot of a semi carrying a load of vehicles. What do you think of when you consider the terms Industrial or Mechanical?

John Steiner

John has given us an intriguing challenge this week–a tribute to mechanical and industrial subjects–buildings, gears, engines, vehicles. I decided to explore this theme in a slightly different way, focusing on art and architecture with a mechanical or industrial focus or component.

This first image was shot on a tour of the Sedgwick Studios during Open House Chicago 2015. That weekend, we visited a defunct electrical substation transformed into an artists’ studio. John Adduci‘s massive steel sculpture caught my eye. I loved how the steel reflected the light streaming in from the oversized windows, and seemed to be energized by it.

In 1932, the Mexican artist Diego Rivera was awarded a commission to memorialize the rise of industry in Detroit. He came to Detroit, with his wife Frida Kahlo, and labored intensively on a series of murals, completed in 9 months. His work consists of 27 huge frescoes that line the walls of the open courtyard of the Detroit Institute of Arts. This work, considered his masterpiece, is an ode to the geological, technological, and human history of Detroit. Of course, Henry Ford and the automotive industry is prominently featured here. To get an idea of the scale of his work, click here. It is truly astounding.

During our last visit to Vancouver, our son convinced us to visit the Britannia Mine Museum in British Columbia. To my surprise, the museum and its history were fascinating.

We climbed into an old miners’ trolley that carried us underground and through the tunnels where workers typically spent the workday in near darkness. I struggled to imagine how they labored day after day, year after year, under these back-breaking conditions.

When we returned to the surface, we visited the plant where the copper ore was processed in what was the largest mine in the British Empire. It survived fires, floods, and a rock slide over its 75-year history, and employed over 60,000 people.

To get a sense of the scale of the building, click here.

The Duomo, Firenze. Exterior and Interior Views

Some of you may remember my earlier images of the Duomo in Florence, a structure which defines the city and elevates it, making it the showplace of artistic, architectural and engineering genius. Today, I’m also including a shot of the interior, so you can get a sense of the glory and splendor of this structure.

Its history is fascinating: the cathedral was completed in 1296, but it had no dome for over a hundred years because no one with knowledge of architecture or engineering could figure out how to create such a massive structure; Filippo Bruneschelli solved the dilemma in 1418, even though his background was in goldsmithing and sculpture; Bruneschelli’s genius was to work out a solution without using flying buttresses for support. His exterior dome is actually supported by a second interior dome, which distributes the weight and provides extra reinforcement.

But Bruneschelli was secretive about the details of the plan, fearing that a rival would steal them. And so, hundreds of years later, the Duomo is still an architectural and engineering mystery. It holds the record as the largest masonry dome ever built, using a staggering 4 million bricks and weighing over 25,000 tons.

We hope you join John’s challenge this week, which gives us an opportunity to explore the mechanical and industrial features of our culture, history, and society. Looking back at last week, I can honestly say that your responses to the Light and Shadow Challenge were wonderful! I truly enjoyed your varied collections and your creative responses–shot in both black and white and color. Next week, Amy will be hosting our 200th challenge–a milestone for the Lens-Artists. Be sure to visit her site next Saturday at noon EST to get all the details.

If you’d like to join in our weekly challenges but aren’t sure how to proceed, look here.

In the meantime, I hope you have a joyful and inspiring week!

39 replies »

  1. Patti, I love the artistic take you shared on this challenge. My wife and I did a similar tour of a copper mine in Arizona and my thoughts about the dark and back-breaking labor are the same as yours.
    It’s not that far from Detroit, and maybe that set of frescos is enough to spur me to make my first visit to Motor City.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, John. Our son gets us to go to museums we wouldn’t ordinarily go to. How many people have been to the sewer museum in Paris?? Believe me…it was really fascinating! I’m glad you enjoyed the copper mine tour. I found it fascinating. And yes, DIA in Detroit is a world-class museum. I think you’d enjoy it. Thanks for a great challenge!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Anne! I’m delighted to hear that. I am never quite sure how everyone will react.😀 Sometimes I’m surprised!! Diego Rivera was amazing. The scale of the murals….the colors…stunning.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well Patti, I must say I really learned a lot from your post this week!. I could NEVER go down into a mine as I have terrible claustrophobia (when in NZ I had to leave the glow worm cave the minute there was no light coming in!!) so I loved the information on the link to the mine site. Amazing. I also loved the Detroit mural which I’d never heard of, and again loved the link. Finally, I’ve been to see the Duomo and had no idea about the dome. Sigh. I must revisit!! Amazing photography this week as well. Terrific response


  3. That’s a great way to approach this theme! That mural is amazing, and lovely to see the interior of Duomo in Florence 🙂 We visited the Britannia Mine Museum too and I was surprised at how interesting I found it, partly thanks to a very good guide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sarah! Oh you’ve been to Britannia! It is very interesting, isn’t it? They added a visual/audio part to it that highlighted different parts of the process of refining the ore.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting Industrial Paintings and Photos, they have a certain “Steam Punk” look to them. lol, this was real life in the early 1900s, not a sci fi novel I know. It must have been brutal working in those factories before labour laws etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true, Shawn. I can only imagine how bad it was and children were working there, too! Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m so happy to hear your thoughts.


  5. A beautiful post Patti! Like your approach to focus on art and architecture with a mechanical/industrial component. My favorite is Adduci’s sculpture; the composition plus light and shadows is great!

    Liked by 1 person

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