Lens-Artists Challenge 113 – Labors of Love
“The hand expresses what the heart already knows.”
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.
“What the two hands of a laborer can achieve, the capitalist will never get with all his gold and silver.”
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. “
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.
“You are the driver steering your own dreams. Choose to knock down whatever crosses your way.”
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.
“Watching her navigate life through a lens of love is inspiring. She’s the captain, we’re the crew.”
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.”
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.
“Be faithful in small things because it is in that that your strength lies.”
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.