Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Everyday Objects

This week, Patti asks us to consider “… taking a fresh look at ordinary, everyday objects–things that you see and use in your daily life.” You can check out her challenge post here. As is often the case, I like to put my own spin on the challenge. Instead of picking several examples as Patti did, I focused on one everyday object, the bench. Over the years, when out and about, I’ve taken advantage of the generosity of others and taken a rest on a bench provided for that purpose or to simply sit a moment and enjoy the view. In many cases, of course, those benches were provided by government funds, as is the case in our opening photo, a bench along the walkway in Island Park in downtown Fargo, North Dakota.

Moving west to Valley City’s Rieman Recreation Area, a swing bench invites people to sit a spell and enjoy the view of Lake Ashtabula. This man-made lake provides watershed for agriculture, a sanctuary for wildlife, and recreation for both residents and travelers. 

In Baltimore’s  Inner Harbor area, along the Patapsco River, there are rows of benches for visitors to stop and rest. A music venue, right across the channel, is an attraction for visitors to stop and enjoy the music. They can’t see the show from here, but there is no problem hearing the music… and from here, it’s free.

In Old Town Scottsdale Arizona, a shopping and restaurant venue attracts visitors from all over the world. Sitting along one of the sidewalks is a row of benches that invite visitors to sit a spell and rest. The back of each bench is made from a large wagon wheel.

The Haw River in North Carolina attracts canoeists and kayakers. Those who enjoy these water sports but didn’t bring along their kayak or canoe can rent one. This bench provides a waiting area for customers to pick up or drop off their rental boats.

In San Antonio, the HemisFair Arena and Park includes several benches that invite people to sit and enjoy the view or just chat, as in this feeble attempt at candid street photography.

Some benches are designed as sculptures. At the First Lutheran Church in Fargo, Homeless Jesus rests on a bench. Dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of the homeless in our community, the face is obscured by the blanket, but the unmistakable holes in the feet provide all the identification needed. From the nearby street, the sculpture looks so real that in the months after its installation, Fargo Police were called on several occasions to let them know there was someone sleeping on the bench.

In Smithfield, Virginia, a bench in front of the local newspaper office features a view of Ben Franklin reading the news. The pigeon with wings spread is part of the bronze sculpture. The other pigeon is alive and resting on the bench. The weekly newspaper, The Smithfield Times, has served the counties of Surry and Isle of Wight since 1920.

At the zoo in Phoenix, this bench sculpture appeared to me to be a view of Laurel and Hardy and someone else I didn’t know. It turns out the sculpture honors the principals of a popular local children’s show, “Wallace and Ladmo” that aired daily from 1954 to 1989 on local channel 5 (KPHO). Wallace is sitting on the bench, Ladmo standing behind, and standing on the right is Gerald. Of course, all of these characters were unfamiliar to me, but longtime Phoenix residents know them immediately.

Shout out to Tina Schell on my response to this challenge. I wasn’t sure how to deal with this challenge of “everyday objects” until I saw Tina’s post featuring a collection of photos of umbrellas. Her response immediately reminded me of my collection of bench photos. You can check out Tina’s umbrella image collection here.

John Steiner


23 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Everyday Objects

  1. Wonderful photos, John.

    I can’t help but notice the photos of Baltimore and Scottsdale running consecutively. I was born and raised in Baltimore, but hope to make Scottsdale my home in the not too distant future. Of course, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

  2. Hey there John, thanks for the shout out! Loved your bench series. So many clever ones-the Jesus statue is crazy real! The wagon wheels are perfect as is the newspaper bench. Beyond art tho your post shows the pleasures to Be had from just sitting a spell on a beautiful day to enjoy life’s quiet moments. Terrific response

    • Thanks! One set of benches I left off (as I couldn’t find any photos I liked), are the many memorial benches placed in the parks in Maricopa County. They are along hiking trails and in addition to providing a break for the hiker, they have a plaque dedicating the bench to someone, usually an avid hiker, who has passed on.

  3. Hi, John. I’m glad Tina inspired your post this week. Your take on the theme shows us the great variety of benches and how they are “customized” by local history, geography, and building materials. I especially like your close up of the wagon wheel and the evening shot of the inner harbor in Baltimore. Wonderful. And the statue of the homeless Jesus is really thought-provoking. Great post!

  4. Cool interpretation! I got a small window on the intertubes today and thought i’d give ya a quick read. I have an extensive collection of bike photos for some reason. Hmmm.

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