Lens-Artists Challenge – Looking Back

Another year has passed. Time seems to be rushing through, faster than ever before. The 1970’s weren’t just 30 years ago although that is how it feels, at least for some of us. The music, the fashions, and now the technology help us even more to have a sense of time and how things change. Can we remember a time of no mobile phones, or cassettes or floppy disks? Can we imagine a time when the way we represented things, anything, was limited to the knowledge available? This challenge is about time, how things evolve. How we changed in our way of seeing and representing them.

For last week’s challenge I mentioned how I picked my favourite photos based on feelings, how art makes us feel or think or both. This week I decided to have some fun by Looking Back to the History of Art and try to represent steppingstones in its evolution.

There were always Art books in my parent’s house and when I was growing up, I enjoyed looking at the pictures. I was fascinated by Egyptian Art and how the human figure was represented, twisted, flat, 2-dimensional. These screens at the Nagoya Castle in Japan have the same 2-dimensional feel about them.

It would take a considerable amount of time for things to “pop out” of the surface they were trapped in, but they did… Visual art discovered the notion of Perspective. All the sudden, there was depth and artists were closer to showing their surroundings as they really were. The floor on the Throne room at the Queluz Palace in Portugal is a fine example of one the things that helped conveying perspective in those early days.

Later, everything was interesting and worthy, even just common things like household items. The concept of Still Life was born, a representation of everyday life through a composition of inanimate things. This is my take on a traditional Still Life setting and it was considerably harder than I expected.

For any Jane Austen fans, the next one is not much of a surprise, Silhouettes. The fashion of having your profile drawn and cut so it could be given as a love token is something incredibly romantic but also dated. I had a lot of fun doing my own!

Landscapes have always been a subject, but more confined to the background, framing a religious image or portrait. It was only in the last 200 years or so that there was a need for landscapes to also convey a feeling or mood. Landscapes showed also how things had irrevocably changed, with big cities taking over the world, industrialization ending ways of life.

Then, in the last 150 years or so, time felt like it was spinning faster than ever. Transport changed; everything was closer than ever before. Photography came about and here we are. These are the oldest family photos we have, from 1921. They are in terrible condition, but they show how photography was the thing at that point. My grandfather was a teenager in them, and I wonder if it was this initial contact to the camera that gave him his love for taking photos.

We can do with a single machine all that took centuries to discover and perfect. But even photography is still evolving. Very few of us will take photos with an analogue camera, but we will use our phone to snap away. This photo was taken with my mobile phone, when I couldn’t rely on my camera. Was I glad I still managed to capture all the beauty of Branklyn Garden.

Lastly, AI and art. It is amazing what computers can do these days, we are far, far away from the basic we could do back then. I’ve played a bit with Photoshop before and created dreamscapes from some of my photos. The examples I’m showing today mimic other art movements applied to my photos.

I have picked Art representations to show the passing of time. They all lead to here and now. It is up to you to choose where you want to go when you look back in time. Maybe you will want to focus of the evolution of transport. Perhaps architecture is more your thing. You might even want to show things that have seen better days… or things that have become obsolete. I’m excited to see where and when you’ll take us. Remember to link to this post and tag Lens-Artists so we can all find you.

A big thank you to John and everyone that took part in last weeks challenge. There were a lot of amazing images from last year and a promise for a great 2023. Next week Anne will be our host. Please visit her wonderful site and join us if you can.


138 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge – Looking Back

  1. A really interesting post. I would love to visit that Queluz Palace. I am coming late to the challenge as usual, but thank you for prompting a trip down memory lane.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful photos!
    I really like your thoughts on landscape.
    I adore the still life photo.
    The 1921 pic is a treasure.
    Time is flying by, and things are changing at an alarmingly fast pace!
    I was thinking about those who lived during the telegram era and before that.
    Thank you, Sofia Alves for this interesting theme.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been doing a bit of looking back lately, for a couple of reasons. One is that I started a new job and ran into a former colleague who I worked with for 20 years. It’s been nine years since we saw each other. Great topic and very interesting post. I think I’ll do my own Looking Back photo post, even though I’m close to two weeks behind. Do you post these every week?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. By the way, I look back at those days before cell phones and GPS maps. I remember asking for directions and using paper maps. We have a lot of great conveniences now, but we lost something, too. We really don’t need other people as much.

      Liked by 1 person

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