Lens-Artists Challenge 113 – Labors of Love


“The hand expresses what the heart already knows.”

Samuel Mockbee

This week our guest host Rusha Sams has given us a most interesting challenge – A Labor of Love. Throughout our travels I’ve photographed many people engaged in a variety of labors but for today’s purposes I’ve chosen to limit myself to those who, in my eyes at least, are truly working at something they love. My opening example is a gentleman documenting his beloved Naxi language – spoken by an extremely small number of people and written by even fewer, in a remote area of Sichuan, China.

hands, tiler, saw, dust


“What the two hands of a laborer can achieve, the capitalist will never get with all his gold and silver.”

Mahatma Gandhi

As proof that I do sometimes use my camera locally for places and things other than birds and nature 😊, I’ve included the image above. It’s a personal favorite, captured in nearby Charleston, SC. The subject was happily working on tiles for a a building under repair and graciously allowed me to photograph him at his job. I loved the strength of his hands and the dust coming from his saw. The image was chosen as photo of the week by the Post and Courier, Charleston’s local newspaper.


“Working in the kitchen is my soul and my life, and I love it. I am there because I want to be. “

Heinz Beck

The chef’s mask in the image above was not in place due to COVID restrictions. I captured it pre-Covid in a restaurant in Xian, China. Xian is famous for their Terra Cotta Warriors, and  interestingly, also for their dumplings.  Said to be the best in the world, having eaten them you’ll get no argument from me. 😊 The capture was made through a window to the kitchen which allows patrons to watch the chefs at work. 

tuk tuk driver, SE Asia


“You are the driver steering your own dreams. Choose to knock down whatever crosses your way.”

Israelmore Ayivor

In Cambodia it was great fun traveling by tuk-tuk. Part of the reason was our first (and consequently only) tuk-tuk driver. He clearly loved his country and loved his work. After our first ride he agreed to be our driver for the remainder of our visit. His amazing smile was a great way to start and/or end the day.

china, female captain


“Watching her navigate life through a lens of love is inspiring. She’s the captain, we’re the crew.”

Richie Norton

Zhouzhuang is often called the Venice of China and having been in both places I found China’s version much more approachable. Yes, Venice is incredible and in a class of its own. But Zhouzhuang, a 2,500 year old city of 6,000 stone bridges, has canals that seem to go on forever, incredible food, and warm, friendly people. None more so than the captain of our little boat as she steered us through the ancient canals. It was a wonderful day filled with many memories, not the least of which was her smiling face.



“You will never feel alone, as every solitary step becomes your companion.”

Munia Khan

In China’s Longsheng rice fields, as the afternoon light was at its most glorious, I was intently focused on capturing the incredible landscapes. As I looked across the fields I saw a solitary worker, scythe in hand, tending to the crops. I found myself thinking about his day, and his life, and I thought it must be quite something to spend a lifetime amidst such beauty. Perhaps the serenity is enough to offset the difficulty of manually maintaining such an environment. In the many huge fields of China we saw very little machinery, and the vast majority of the workers – at least the ones we saw – were female.

monk, bald, colorful, writing


“Be faithful in small things because it is in that that your strength lies.”

Mother Teresa

I’ve chosen to close with another personal favorite, once again from our time in Cambodia. I was fascinated by the many monks we saw there, and truly excited to happen on the subject above. He was so involved in his labors he never noticed my effort to capture his intense concentration. Would that we would all be so committed to our everyday tasks. 

Sincere thanks to Rusha for agreeing to be this week’s guest host, and for her very interesting challenge. On this Labor Day weekend, we offer special thanks to those on whose labors we so depend – our health care workers, our policemen and firemen, those in the armed forces (especially those far from home), our teachers, those who grow, work in and/or deliver our food, our mail and our packages, and the many others who make our lives so much better thanks to their commitment to jobs well done. 

As always, thanks also to our followers for your much-appreciated support. We look forward to seeing your ever-creative responses. Please remember to link them to Rusha’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. We hope you’ll join us next week as we return to our regular schedule and Amy brings us Challenge #114.

  • NOTE: I’ve included links to some previous posts on today’s subjects for those who may be interested in more information or additional images of the places mentioned.












103 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge 113 – Labors of Love

  1. Pingback: Lens-Artist-PC-113-Labours-Of-Love – WoollyMuses

  2. I’ve done my share of laying tile and laminate flooring, the work is not easy. Especially with those precision cuts. One of the things you find out pretty fast is no floor/room is precise in measurement (including the custom built homes). It’s measure once, measure again, measure again. Cut a piece, see if it fits. If it fits, great. More often than not, a minor trim is needed … which, of course is preceded by more measuring. Laminate is little more forgiving than tile. A piece of laminate that’s been trimmed too much might be able to be used elsewhere.

  3. You’ve captured the spirit of the labor of love with this post ~ my favorite shot is “O CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN” and the smile and happiness she is showing to you. And also, I have to give you a tip of the cap to the Xi’an dumplings, just reading your words made me very hungry, they are so delicious! Beautiful work.

    • Thanks very much Randall. We loved our “captain/guide” that day. Sweet as could be. And speaking of sweet – oh my yes, those dumplings!!! I can still remember them perfectly 🙂

  4. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113 – Twenty Four

  5. Oh, Tina. You’ve absolutely outdone yourself. These photos are all remarkable in their own way, and your quotes enhance your creative writing. I’m in love with those hands cutting tiles — and the remarkable detail you’ve captured. Such strength. Such grit.
    But how could I select one over another — the writing of an obscure language, a chef who loves to work, two smiling faces from the other side of the world, the rice fields and the monk concentrating on his work — all beautifully photographed in the moments that have meaning. Thank you for sharing them all with us. And thank you for letting me be a part of the LAPC this week. What an incredible experience –not just the posting, but also seeing what others have attached as their interpretations. No wonder this gives you pleasure and is another of your labors of love. Best wishes for continuing all that you do.

    • Many thanks Rusha. I truly enjoyed your challenge and my revisiting of the many laborers we’ve seen around the world. I’ve loved all of the responses so far and look forward to seeing more as the week progresses! Great job.


      • I just shared your post with Bert. We’re sitting on the sofa marveling at your destinations, photos and the people you’ve captured. You’re excellent at what you do, and we wish for you many more years of travel, photography, and writing.

  6. I see why you have chosen some of your favorite images for this challenge, Tina. And you have written and organized the post with so much feeling in showing workers at work, loving what they do. Labors of love indeed. As you loved to make their images – a true labor of love. I cannot choose a favorite – they are all outstanding. I also love the tribute to all social and health workers, to people essential to keep our life and society going in this frightful pandemic and uncertain times. We owe them everything.

    • Thanks so much Ann-Christine. It is a labor of love, isn’t it?! I know you too have poured so much love and energy into your own photography and writing. And yes, absolutely re the workers who make our lives that much easier

  7. Tina, first I have to tell you that I like your new profile photo. You’re a stunning lady … just how I had imaging you from your writing and images. Now to the entry with so much heart and soul you handle it over to us. Wonderful job, Tina … that young man on the tractor made my evening.

  8. putting together all these amazing pictures and beautiful quotes is truly a labor of love, Tina. i love them all but my favorite is the solitary worker up in the fields! 🙂

  9. Fabulous “at work” images, Tina. I love them all, but of course, the writer in me loves your first shot a little bit more!! You highlight the dignity, beauty, and joy of people at work, their labors of love!

    • Thanks Patti – I just thought the combination of the detail in his hands and the beautiful character-oriented language deserved a focus of their own. Much the same, the tile-worker’s veined arms.


  10. A wonderful response to the challenge Tina and every beautiful photograph tells it own story. I was especially taken with the Saving Naxi image and I can imagine that people in museums or research institutes specialising in minority languages would enjoy seeing it too 💜

    • Thanks so much Xenia – I hope you’re right about there being a focus on the dying languages. There are so many out there that get so little focus. Sad to see them going extinct.


  11. this is a fabulous post! I love these shots of people so immersed in what they r doing….and it is so refreshing to see very warm folk from around the globe so happily interacting as we ‘at this moment’ r living in this SO divided world…..leaves me with a feeling of peace!!

  12. Closer to Home is a fabulous shot, Tina, and I love the smiling faces you’ve gathered on your travels. 🙂 🙂 Come to think of it, I like the smiley new Gravatar too! Have a happy week 🙂

  13. I can tell that you truly love your work, Tina. Photography is a laborious work. These are incredible pictures and the second photo of the hands stood out for me. I could see the muscles and veins at work. Now, take a pic of your hands and post them for me. Please.

    • Thank you so much Perpetua, your comment is very much appreciated. As for my hands, I shall do so but you’ll have to watch for it as it won’t be this week! 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone


  14. This is an amazing series, Tina. I love how your captured the Saving Naxi. The image of “Closer to Ho” tells moving stories, so is the “Solitary Worker” in the rice field. Thank you for taking us to this beautiful part of the world via your lens. Love it!! 🙂

  15. So many wonderful moments showing labors of love Tina. I visited your post on Zhouzhuang from your trip in 2013 which I hadn’t seen before. What a beautiful place and I can see why it is called the Venice of China. Your post is my treat for today. Hope you are enjoying the long weekend. Best wishes.

  16. Tina, you are truly skilled in both photography and writing. Such a very beautiful post! You have inspired me to look outside my normal photo interests next time we travel. And an example of how, if we follow our passions, we can find labor that we love 💗😊 (or, sometimes it’s in the attitude to demonstrate love in our labors)

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