Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113: A Labor of Love

Mural from 9/11 Memorial in NYC

People all over the world honor their workers in a variety of ways. In the U.S., we honor those who labor by setting aside the first Monday of September as Labor Day. But world-wide, people pour themselves into their work — paid or unpaid — with commitment, ingenuity, and a sincere desire to make a difference. For them, work has become more than just work. It has become a labor of love.

Hard work is painful when life is devoid of purpose. But when you live for something greater than yourself and the gratification of your own ego, then hard work becomes a labor of love.

Steve Pavlina
A Habitat for Humanity team of Americans and Canadians work with volunteers in Lesotho to provide a house for a family in need.

This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113 recognizes people around the globe who have gone the distance or created something that impacts life in a meaningful way. From our travels, here are some memorable labors of love.

As my husband and I built a Habitat for Humanity house in Nepal, we saw women laboring to make life better — from ladies who wove marigold necklaces to welcome our team, to those who gathered twigs and leaves to feed their work animals on the mountainside, to a grandmother who carried freshly washed clothes and a heavy jug of water up a precarious path to her family — every day.

In Cambodia, three generations worked together to dry fish for the family business. Even with the backbreaking, tedious, even smelly jobs befalling each person, we saw father, mother, children, and grandmother working as a team to ready the fish for the drying racks.

Cambodian family drying fish

A man in Chefchouen sweeping the pathway in front of his house described for us the incredible volunteer effort of the town’s residents each spring to dab shades of blue paint on houses, walls, and streets. Now, Chefchouen is a notable, must-see tourist stop — all because of a labor of love by hard-working people in this little blue Moroccan town.

Two afternoons a week, cadets and instructors from the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, head down to the harbor to donate their time and sailing expertise. It’s all done so community members (and lucky visitors) can sail the ocean blue on the academy training ship, Bowdoin. For the cadets and their instructors, it’s not a requirement — just a labor of love. As they told us, “We just want to share the joy of watching the sun go down on beautiful Penobscot Bay with everyone.”

People who teach, nurture, and care for students or their own children — do so with love and dedication, even during a pandemic. From the small town of Perouges, France, to Knoxville, Tennessee, to Pawleys Island, South Carolina — love and labor abound in shepherding, coaching, and passing along good tips.

Finally, at the top of this post is another labor of love: a mural executed by school children in Mrs. Anders’ Second Grade Class honoring the spirit of helping others following the tragic events of 9/11. Now on display in the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in NYC, the mural reminds us that unplanned labors of love often happen as fellow citizens jump in immediately to provide help in turbulent times.

Now it’s your turn. We hope you’ll join us in sharing your interpretations of “A Labor of Love” whether you showcase a person or a group or an object notable for the labor or laborer involved. Publish your post and add your link to the Comments section at the bottom of my post. Please don’t forget to add the tag Lens-Artists so the Reader can find your post.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.


Have you seen these?

This past week, your responses to Ann-Christine’s Pick-A-Word challenge were creative and fun! Have you seen these entries?

From my heart, I’d like to say thanks to the creators of Lens-Artists Photo ChallengeAnn-Christine, Patti, Amy, and Tina — for allowing me to be a guest host this week. I’m honored to be sharing my ideas and pictures alongside four creative, skilled photographers. They inspire me every day with their labors of love. Next Saturday at noon EST, watch for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #114 provided by Amy.

Thanks to all who “live for something greater than yourself.”

Rusha Sams

141 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113: A Labor of Love

  1. Pingback: ~A Labor Of Love~ – TALES FROM MY LENS

  2. CompassAndCamera

    How did I miss this?! Such a WONDERFUL post, Rusha! I especially love the man sweeping his porch in Chefchouen — such a beautiful town and the sound of sweeping reminds me of traveling since so many people around the world start their day with this ritual. Thank you for all these lovely photos and thoughts, and your labor of love in putting them together.

  3. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challange 114: Negative Space | The World Is A Book...

  4. Pingback: Labour of love – Joanne's crafts and adventures

  5. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113: A Labor of Love | nowathome

  6. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: #113 A LABOR OF LOVE - My Colorful Expressions

  7. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – A Labor of Love | Journeys with Johnbo

  8. Pingback: What I am Working On: A New Project | Photography Journal Blog: Volume 2

  9. Pingback: Labor of Love – Nes Felicio Photography

  10. Pingback: Princeton Fire Department - Island in the Net

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thank you so much for paying tribute to the Princeton firefighters and for including how it all began. As with many groups, it’s sometimes difficult to maintain members and adhere to the original intent. Sometimes groups evolve, redefining their mission, vision, and actions along the way. But as you noted, this group certainly deserves our praise and support. Thanks so much for your entry into this week’s challenge!

  11. Inside the Mind of Isadora

    Fantastic images of many, many ways to showcase your challenge this week. I enjoyed searching my archives … since I’ve been isolating, no fresh pics until travels starts again … I think I found some interesting ones. I hope you enjoy. Thank you for pushing to think outside of the box.
    Have a wonderful week … Be Safe
    Isadora 😎

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Although I left you a message on your blog site, I wanted to say thanks again for contributing a colorful, happy response to this week’s challenge. As a cruise ship lover (and long-time food lover!), I can tell you pretty food just seems to taste better! I believe if the cruise ships ever offer a food preparation class, I’d take it! We appreciate your efforts and the joy your post brings! Happy Labor Day!

      1. Inside the Mind of Isadora

        I enjoyed particiapting this week in the challenge. It was a fun one for me. I got to enjoy my many, many photographs of the cruises (20 last December for New Years) that hubby and I have taken. I did take a cooking class on board the Holland America line. We traveled twice with them and they have a special theater set up for teaching how to cook one of their meals. Now, I don’t know what they’ll do since everyone paritciapted and were up close. I hope you get to travel on a sip that will teach cooking.
        Thank you for enjoying my lil adventure on my Constellaiton cruise. Be Safe … Isadora

  12. Pingback: Lens Artists Challenge – A Labor of Love | Isadora Art and Photography

  13. Pingback: Plateau Indian Beaded Moccasins: LAPC - bend branches

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Although I posted a note on your site, I wanted to thank you again for sharing photos of a garden ripe for the picking and your mention of the bold work done by firefighters today. You hit the challenge squarely on the head!

      1. anthropologist

        The firefighters have been constantly on my mind because — the nearest fire is just over the ridge! To think they make it possible for so many of us to enjoy the fruits of our gardens. Than you so much for stopping by.

  14. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 113: A Labor of Love | Kanlaon

  15. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – A Labor of Love | The Nature of Things

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      You are quite welcome! Your post is a favorite — mostly for your mention of the operas you have attended with your eldest daughter and for photos of that magic fairy garden. You’ve found just the right things for this week’s challenge!

  16. Leya

    Well, well – seems it works today! Then I just wanted to say how inspirational, beautiful and fitting your Labor of Love is. You have done wonderful things in many places – and I loved Nepal when we visited in 1986. Thank you for hosting and a post of love and beauty – that is what we all need!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for sticking with your attempts to post. I don’t know what was going on with my blog site or maybe yours, but I’m glad it is all working well now.
      We loved Nepal — our visit took us to some remote areas to build two houses on separate sites, so we met numerous people in communal living situations. Their joy and exuberance for life made me realize again that money doesn’t make you happy — it’s relationships with family and friends along with meaningful work that truly makes a difference. Their labors of love were well-intentioned, although somewhat arduous.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Your link works beautifully now. Thanks for your perseverance that has netted us all a glimpse of a region in NZ that is feeling the effects of man’s inability to preserve the beauty as it was created. Thanks for your daughter’s efforts to volunteer there and for your post that brings the area to the attention of all who read your post this week. Truly a labor of love!

      1. Leya

        ♥ Thank you for giving us a beautiful challenge and opportunity for others to share positive news. My daughter makes me immensely proud.

  17. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113 – A Labor of Love | Leya

  18. photobyjohnbo

    Nice collection of images showing people enjoying their work. My favorite is the image of the ship. I am partial to images of boats and ships anyway. This one is excellent. Your challenge provided the impetus to find I had more images of people enjoying their work than I’d imagined.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for your kind words. And I couldn’t agree more about images of boats — we have them in photos and artistic renderings throughout our home. For one whole month, we stayed in a friend’s house in Castine, Maine. Almost every morning, I took a short walk down to the harbor and saw these boats. They became very special as they lit up when the morning light turned them golden colors. So, when I found out that we could take a free sail on one, I was thrilled! Hope you’ll continue to support the Lens-Artists Photo Challenges.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I love that mural as well. Since it’s hanging in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, it’s alongside remnants from the destruction as well as representations by other artists of the tragic time — and it shows up well among them. It’s what it represents that is so remarkable — the indomitable spirit of the people to help those they didn’t even know. Thanks for your comments.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      We’ve had a good Labor Day, albeit a calm one. No fireworks. No friends over for grilled hot dogs. Just the two of us doing laundry and packing — we’re headed out to Gettysburg and the Eastern Shore for a while. Thanks for your comments and always posting lovely pictures on your site.

  19. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge 113 – Labors of Love | The Life in My Years

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Anne, I posted a comment on your site, but I just wanted to add one more thanks to you for contributing a colorful post that makes us all want to lift off! I can’t believe you were using a new camera — your photos have the look of a professional’s portfolio. Wishing you all the best as you soar to new heights (I couldn’t resist) and enter future Lens-Artists Photo Challenges.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much for taking a look and saying such kind things. It was fun putting together all these photos on this theme. In fact, I have lots more quilts my mother made that I almost included but may save for another post. So glad you said “energy” in your comments — it takes energy for all of us to blog, and I love what you find to post. Keep it up. I enjoy your publications as well.

  20. Pingback: lens-artists photo challenge #113 – a labour of love | myguiltypleasures

  21. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge 113 – Labors of Love | The World Is A Book...

  22. Shelley@QuaintRevival.com

    Thank you for hosting this week! I’m very impressed with all the photos you shared. I’ve never traveled much, so it’s so fun to see the places you’ve been and the stories you’ve shared. I can’t pick a favorite photo from the group, but the ship one is stunning. You do very well with leading lines and composition!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thank you so much for your kind remarks. It’s fun putting together photos for these challenges. We’re not traveling much right now either. The quarantine has kept us in for months, but we are now beginning to drive to places near us just to be seeing something besides our subdivision. I took the photo of the ship two years ago when we stayed in Castine, Maine at a friend’s house for a whole month. It was a glorious fall, and we loved the colors, birds flying overhead, and the dreamy sunrises at the harbor. Thanks for your comments.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thank you so much for this fabulous contribution! Your photos and heartfelt sentiments contribute much to the feelings we are expressing on this Labor Day weekend. Your work is much appreciated. And I thank you again for allowing me to be a guest host for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Xenia, thanks so much for your post. I can tell that the charity you’ve told us about — DOTS — is near and dear to your heart, but also that you’ve put much effort into being a mover and shaker willing to do whatever it takes to make a difference. Thanks for your contribution to the challenge this week and for all you are doing to raise awareness and to provide support.

  23. Pingback: Shining light on the removal of odd smells – Quaint Revival

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for the compliment, Teresa, and thanks for your lovely contribution to this week’s challenge. I would love to visit all the places you’ve shown us good art. And I’m also with you in your concern for artists being compensated fairly for their labors of love. An excellent post — one that truly makes me think.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Your contributions are fabulous — I can’t believe you found so many photos of people at work. We have to believe that most, if not all, are accomplishing labors of love. Or at least your photos make me believe that they are content with their work. Thanks for the details of everyday life in work worlds that do make a difference, just as you did with your post! Happy Labor Day!

  24. viveka

    First of all .. what a fantastic playground you have created this week. Fantastic topic/theme. What a celebration to those that make a difference to peoples life right now … without asking anything in return. It’s with them my believes belongs. Thank you so much for this fantastic post and gallery.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thank you so much for your kind remarks. It was fun finding suitable pictures, but it also reminded me that we have seen many people through our travels who love their work and their hobbies. Thank goodness most people do — it makes life more interesting. I appreciate your comments, for sure.

      1. viveka

        Thank you so much for your kind comment. Sometimes the story needs pictures… and sometime the pictures needs a story. You did a wonderful job. It was interesting to read and wonderful images to look at. Excellent job.

  25. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #113 – “Labors of love” – MyBlog – solaner

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Although I left you a note on your site, I just wanted to say thank you again for joining the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week. I love your macro shots and the pictures of you in the grass capturing that one good photo! Here’s hoping you’ll join the challenges again. I look forward to seeing what you find to photograph.

  26. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge – Labour of Love – photographias

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for finding so many interesting photos for this challenge — you’ve captured the spirit of working with passion well — your images are likewise interesting and beautiful! Thanks, too, for participating in LAPC this week, and Happy Labor Day!

  27. Pingback: A Labor of Love | Anvica's gallery

  28. Pingback: Modeling marzipan – Geriatri'x' Fotogallery

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      We are hoping for many wonderful posts, as well. And so far, we’ve had great variety and color from those who accepted the challenge. Here’s hoping you have a very nice weekend. And thanks for commenting. I appreciate your kind remarks.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Although I left you a message on your site, I just wanted to say again how appropriate your choice of music is for the theme “labor of love.” I love listening to music, but I’m no musician. I can only imagine the work that goes into all phases of composing, perfecting, and playing. Thanks again for joining us this week!

  29. Pingback: Another Shot of Anderson .Paak | Stupidity Hole

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thank you so much. We’ve been fortunate to witness many acts of kindness and labors of love. In fact, it was difficult to narrow down the ones we liked best. I hope you also have some to share. I’d love to see what has had meaning for you.

  30. Amy

    That is a great theme for Labor Day, Rusha. Your photos, stories, and quotes are all beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for showing us through your lens how people in the world try to make a better world.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much. I’m so glad you asked me to be a guest blogger for LAPC, and this week was perfect for me. I’ve seen more good things than bad in my life, even though I don’t have all that many photos to prove so. I look forward to your take on the theme as well.

  31. anne leueen

    This is a terrific challenge arriving on Labor Day weekend A great reminder that there is more to “Labor” than a long weekend, I enjoyed your photos for this challenge very much.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      If you’re thinking of joining us, please interpret the labor of love idea from your own perspective. And thanks for the kind words. I had fun looking through my photos for this one. Good memories always make me smile!!

  32. restlessjo

    Sometimes the comments are reward enough in themselves, Rusha. Hope you had a happy Labour Day and thanks for a great theme. Love the soft lighting on that Tall Ship 🙂 🙂

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for your kind words and positive comments. I, too, loved the lighting on the ship. It was early morning at Castine Harbor, and the cadets were ready to sail. I loved my trip with them, and I’m so glad they take guests aboard. Hope you’ll join the challenge this week. Would love to see what objects or people you would categorize under labors of love.

  33. Pingback: Korea Trip #3 – Fish Market – From Hiding to Blogging

  34. Tina Schell

    Rusha, thanks so much for participating as our guest host this week, and for your beautiful and inspirational post. You are so right , people everywhere are laboring with love so that we can all live better lives. Your Habitat story is a great example. I participated locally in a Habitat “Women’s Build” where all participants were female. I was astounded at the amount of work we did, having assumed we be assisting real builders – not so much! Happily the home still stands 🙂. Loved your quotes and your images as well, especially the Moroccan and the boats. And of course the 911 memorial wall, which is near and dear to my heart.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thank you fir kind words, instructions, and suggestions. You’re a good mentor!
      I, too, have built an all-women Habitat house. I never knew I could do siding while on a tall ladder, but I surprised even myself! It was fun as well as rewarding, and much appreciated by the homeowner.
      I, too, loved the Chefchouen photo as well as the town. Such color, but also such caring people. Thanks again for allowing me to be your guest host this week.

  35. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge 113 – Labors of Love | Travels and Trifles

  36. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113 – A Labor of Love – MUSIC | John's Space …..

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Although I left you a message on your site, I just wanted to reiterate how much your post touched my heart. Wishing you all the best as you continue to reflect on good times with family and forge ahead by making more good times for yourself and others you love. Happy Labor Day!

  37. pattimoed

    Hi, Rusha. What a beautiful, heart-felt post, Rusha. Lovely. I admire your work with Habitat. Our son volunteered with them in Savannah. What a great mission they have! And we’re delighted you’re hosting this week!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I’ll have to say some of our best memories of people and travel have come as a result of our involvement with Habitat — in Knoxville as well as overseas. It’s quite meaningful work, and the product is always interesting to watch as it comes together. Thanks for your happy thoughts relative to the topic and my post — those of us who blog know the term “labor of love” quite well, and there is no end to the pictures of items made for us by people dear to us, of special events, and of special people doing what they love doing that we could share. Hope you’ll add to the list of contributors. And also hope you have a great Labor Day weekend!

  38. Pat

    What a wonderful post – a real joy to read. And the photos do a wonderful job of telling your story. I’ll have to think on this one a little. Right now I am waiting for son and daughter-in-law as I have created a labor-of-love meal and she is bringing a labor-of-love cake. We will sit around the table sharing our love for one another.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      You’re going to have a great time with family this weekend! What if you took pictures of the meal including the cake? I love to see what families do together since we entertain our kids often here. And another thought: your photos are always a labor of love — anything you could write about your photography?
      Thanks for your comments and for taking a look. I appreciate your inspiration!

  39. Wandering Dawgs

    Thank you for hosting the challenge this week and sharing these wonderful images of labors of love. My favorites are the mural at the top and the ships at the Maritime Academy. One of my neighbor’s sons is a student there!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for commenting and looking at the pictures. We loved our stay in Castine — every morning, I watched sunrise from the little harbor. This was a sight to see — boats ready to take off with cadets learning the ropes (literally)! We also watched the cadets in formations during a review of them, and I have a shirt, too! We loved being there.
      Appreciate your comment!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thank you so much. I had so many photos because there’s a lot that has been built, sewn, cooked, shared, etc. that are labors of love. So, I hope we have a good response to the challenge. Hope you have a good weekend. And thanks for taking time to comment.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much, John. It just seemed appropriate for Labor Day. And you wouldn’t believe the things my mom made for me (quilts, dolls, etc.) that I could have included! I appreciate your comments very much.

It makes our day to hear from you.