This week, Patti has chosen Street Art as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge so I decided to revisit my trip to downtown Chicago for the Air & Water Show last summer. There is always so much to see in the city and you can bet you will come across some street art in one form or another. Thirty-three of these brightly-painted police dogs, placed mostly along the Magnificent Mile, helped to raise money for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
This week, Patti has chosen History as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Coming from a country so rich in history, I deeply regret not taking up photography while I was still living in England. From the majesty of London’s past with its towers, bridges and cathedrals to the Roman ruins of Verulamium in St. Albans and the mysteries of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, I saw all these historic places yet have nothing to show for it, at least no pictures for which I can take credit. A few years after arriving in Chicago my husband bought me my first SLR camera and ever since then I’ve tried to document all the places of interest that we’ve seen, if for no other reason than to look back at the images in the years to come, perhaps with the grandkids and hopefully their families, and say, “This is part of your country’s history.”
An important part of Chicago’s history was the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. It destroyed so much of what had gone before but led to one of the greatest revival stories in American history. The sculpture shown above is part of the southern bridgehouse of Du Sable Bridge or the Michigan Avenue Bridge as it is more commonly known. Entitled ‘Regeneration’ and created by Henry Hering, it shows workers rebuilding Chicago after the Great Fire. Below is the iconic Chicago Water Tower, the only public building to survive the fire.
On a recent trip to Texas we visited another of America’s famous historic sites, The Alamo in San Antonio. I don’t pretend to understand the rights, wrongs or reasons for many of the wars that have been fought, down through the ages but, as in all battles, men died at the Alamo fighting for a cause that they believed in.
South Dakota has its share of historic sites, even prehistoric ones, including the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs and the Indian Village archaeological site in Mitchell. Something a little more recent, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, designed by sculptor Gutzon Borglum, depicts four U.S. Presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln representing the birth, growth, development and preservation of the United States.
Speaking of Abraham Lincoln, one of the first places I photographed when I got my Minolta film camera was the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. Later images captured with a Canon EOS Rebel show the old State Capitol Building and Lincoln’s law offices, both in Springfield.
This week, Amy has chosen Architecture as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I like to visit historic houses when we go traveling so there are lots of building images in the photo files but for this challenge I decided to go with just a few examples of architecture close to home that, for me, stand out in the crowd. The first building is the Ward W. Willits House in Highland Park, Illinois, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1901.
Next up is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett, Illinois. This place always takes my breath away, it’s so beautiful! And the facts and figures involved in the building of this architectural marvel are mind-boggling. The limestone and marble stones were quarried in Turkey and Italy and shipped to India where 70,000 cubic feet of stone was carved by 2,000 craftsmen. 40,000 pieces were then shipped to Bartlett where they were fitted together over a period of 16 months.
I love the architecture in Evanston and especially on the Campus of Northwestern University. Perhaps it’s because it reminds me a little bit of the college towns back home.
Another impressive piece of architecture that incorporates all kinds of symbolism is the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois.
One of the wonderful things about downtown Chicago is the diversity of its architecture, an interesting blend of the ornate past with the bold lines of present-day designs.
I’m a city girl at heart and although I’ve lived in the suburbs for many years now, there’s nothing I love better than a trip downtown, which is why I was so pleased to see the subject for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Cityscapes. Many thanks to Patti for providing us with this challenge. Although I was born in London, I now live near another great city, Chicago, which is where these images were captured.
For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to Cityscapes.
This week, Tina at Travels and Trifles has selected Doors and Doorways as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I seem to have exhausted my supply of doors with Norm’s Thursday Doors challenge but I did find some open doorways in the Minnesota photo files, the first two taken in the State Capitol Building in St. Paul and the third in the Cathedral of St. Paul.
For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to Open Sesame: Doors and Doorways.
The subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week was set for us by Patti, and she is looking for some fun. Whenever I am looking for a little fun, I head over to my eldest daughter’s house. For many years I hosted every kind of family celebration imaginable but now she has taken over the task and is doing a first-rate job. Last year she initiated a new celebration, the family fall festival, and we had a lot of fun, so this year we looked forward to the date with eager anticipation.
The day started out well. The sun was shining and we were able to enjoy all the outdoor decorations which were primarily geared towards the forthcoming Halloween festivities.
Someone was on hand to do a bit of face painting while the grown-ups prepared the food. Luckily we didn’t need to use the grill as it seemed to be haunted, and I got a fright when someone tapped on the window by the kitchen sink and I look out to see who was there.
Then it was time for all of us to head over to Kregel’s Pumpkin Farm. We had a great time there last year and this looked to be just as much fun, with some family members trying out a new rolling activity while others had a go at the giant slide. By this time, the dark clouds were starting to drift in but we were fairly confident that we’d stay dry as there seemed to be no rain in the forecast.
It was then that things took a turn for the not-so-good. We had hopped on the hay wagon for a ride out to the pumpkin patch and had just made our selections as we stood about discussing the merits of various types of squash when it started to snow. And not just snow. The wind picked up and howled across the field! And there was a blizzard but not gently falling snowflakes. These felt more like shards of glass pummeling us. We all piled back on the hay wagon and the driver set off. I don’t have any shots of these events as by this time I had bundled my camera underneath a rather inadequate jacket, so you’ll just have to picture the scene for yourselves. The wind had reached such a velocity that I thought the wagon was in danger of tipping over and the cold was almost unbearable (many of us were just not suitably dressed for this wintry onslaught.) It’s a strange thing but as horrific as that slow ride back to the farm was, we were all laughing! Even in the worst conditions we were a family, together, out to have some fun and by gosh, we were determined to make the best of it!
By the time we got home, the blizzard had stopped (naturally) and we settled down to enjoy the rest of the day. Unfortunately the camera wasn’t functioning too well after being caught in the storm so I abandoned the picture-taking for other fun pursuits. For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to Just For Fun
Change is all around us, as Amy points out in her choice of subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week, and the trees are once again taking on their autumn colors while there’s a chilly nip in the air first thing in the morning, but it’s not only the seasons that are undergoing their annual transformation from summer to fall. As Bob Dylan once pointed out, “The Times They Are A Changing.”
On a recent visit to Volo Auto Museum we were rather amused and, admittedly, somewhat shocked by the sentiments expressed in this collection of vintage advertisements displayed alongside the cars. It’s good to know that some things have changed for the better.
I can relate to these ads. For many years, I lived in a house with three smokers and there were times when you could hardly see the other side of the room for smoke. My parents were able, with a tremendous amount of willpower, to eventually change the habit of a lifetime, and quit cold turkey.
However, despite the change in certain attitudes, it’s sad to see that there are many that remain, to a certain extent, the same.
My husband was clearly influenced by ads such as the next. For our first wedding anniversary he bought me a fancy electric mixer. I was upset! I had hoped for something a little more romantic and made him take it back. Subsequently he allowed me to choose, within reason, my own anniversary, birthday and Christmas presents. For our 25th anniversary I asked for a paper guillotine to trim photos. He was upset! He thought my choice was somehow symbolic.
My grandfather might have agreed with the next ad. For most of his life he spurned lean meat for pure fat until, with advancing years, he developed high blood pressure and heart problems. I think that even then he was unwilling to concede that his poor health was linked to a bad diet, but eventually wiser heads prevailed and he was forced to change his daily menu. Unfortunately the change came a little too late to do much good.
For more on this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to #15: Changing and/or Changeable.