#6 Examining a Photograph

The Bronze Face of Liberty

The Liberty statue directly in front of the statue of General Nathaniel Greene at the Military Park

The above photograph, I took on the 24th of February 2019. It had been raining for the previous three days and the ground was thoroughly soaked and on my last visit the previous Sunday it had been raining too though not nearly as hard. As I cautiously drove around the perimeter of the parklands to the centralized site of the monuments the rain began to let up and I thought it might finally a good opportunity to take photographs had arisen. Lulled into a false sense of security by the short absence of rain, I exited my car and trotted to the granite steps of the Greene monument and just as I raised my camera for the first picture the rains started again.

Cold droplets irritatingly tickled the back of my neck as the shutter of my camera lense began to flash. I moved quickly and deliberately not thinking clearly about the composition of the photograph I took. I have not had any training in photography and while I care a great deal about taking photographs, my lack of education and training often seeps through into the photograph itself; however, by sheer luck or by some strange providence I finally captured a beautiful photograph. I might brag but the composition, while accidental is striking. The eyes of liberty gaze leftward and down almost solemnly, while three vertical streaks of rain race down each of her cheeks. In her right hand, a shield emblemized with the American eagle shows the dense droplets of falling rain while the whiley brown shades of tree trunks dance in the background.

Which Liberties Exactly

The symbol of “lady liberty,” as seen in the statue at the Guilford Courthouse memorial site, remains a common symbol of American unity in the political climate of American in the tail end of the 19th century, appearing in historical sites including confederate monuments, governmental buildings, and other various battlegrounds commemorating other American wars. She might guard different memorials sit with other metallic though feminine faces but she represents the vision of liberty from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her designers, sculptors, and casters long dead and the world that upheld certain tenets of American freedoms have changed along with the world.

The visage of the freedoms idolized by Americans over one hundred years ago is largely not what Americans consider such liberty to be today. The monuments and preserved historical sites stand as memorials to their creators and organizers just as much as they stand as memorials, for example, to the Battle of Guilford Courthouse or any other historical place or period in America. Currently, the federal government claims stewardship over the Guilford Battleground and with the responsibility for the preservation of the historic parklands including the numerous monuments within the property. Time changes values, perspectives, though many historic sites under federal and state governments currently face no threats and will likely remain as pillars of the idolized past.

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