Bhavna and I were in the Center City section of Philadelphia early this morning. I had a CT scan and pre-surgery testing for my upcoming orbital decompression surgery. The Wills Eye Institute is several blocks, about a 10-minute walk, from the outer edge of the Old City section of Philadelphia, which was an excellent opportunity to capture some images at Independence National Historical Park for Frank's weekly challenge.
Bhavna is still recovering from her foot surgery. Her foot was still sore, and she did not think she could walk to Old City, so I went alone. She stayed behind in the sitting room at Wills Eye Institute.
I wanted to be respectful of her time. I quickly walked to Chestnut Street to Independence Hall. Tourists were milling around outside the building, and only later did it occur to me that people might enjoy the long weekend visiting this historic section of Philadelphia. I stood close to the edge of Chestnut Street to get a photograph that included as much of the Independence Hall building as possible while reducing the chance of tourists stepping into my frame. It was frustrating. The 16mm end of my Fujinon XF16-55mm R LM WR lens was not wide enough for this occasion.
Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, bringing the United States of America into existence.
After photographing Independence Hall, I headed inside to photograph the Liberty Bell. Although I have visited and photographed Old City a few times, this was my first visit to the Liberty Bell. The popular activity is photographing the Liberty Bell.
In the 19th century, the State House bell became known as a symbol of freedom. Its inscription, "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof," inspired abolitionists who wanted to end slavery. The bell was first called the Liberty Bell in 1835 by an abolitionist paper, The Anti-Slavery Record. However, it took years for this name to become popular.
From the late 1800s, the Liberty Bell travelled across America. It was shown at fairs and expositions, visiting many towns. This tour was important for a country healing from the Civil War. The bell reminded people of their shared fight for independence. Over time, different groups like the Women's Suffrage and Civil Rights movements also used the bell for their causes. For example, in 1915, Pennsylvania suffragists made a copy of the bell. They called it the "Justice Bell" and toured it around Pennsylvania to support women's right to vote. This bell stayed silent until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920.
Today, the Liberty Bell is a symbol known all over the world. Its message about freedom is still strong and important: "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof."
After I got my photograph, I stood there watching the Bell and pondered how incredible it was to live in a part of the United States with such historical significance.
After photographing the Liberty Bell, I looked at my watch and realised that I needed to get back to my wife. I walked down 4th Street, crossing through Independence Square toward Walnut Street. I felt rushed and wish I had more time to compose my shots. Perhaps I'll plan a photo walk with some friends.
John Barry was the first Commodore of the U.S. Navy.