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    Posted August 6, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    The lure of lighthouses

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    The enduring allure of the lighthouse as a heroic figure: my lighthouse trip in New England


    Lighthouses likely have their origins in simple fires built to guide ships to the entrances of protected bays. In their modern era (in the 18th c.), the construction of them became more significant as the amount of commercial shipping increased and they began to serve different roles as indicators of treacherous rocks or reefs to reduce the numbers of shipwrecks.

    It is arguably largely in this role (defending rather than guiding into port) that humanity has come to romanticize the lighthouse. The imagery is powerful: a beacon of light in a powerful storm. Friend to the sailor who can avoid running aground on a reef at night. Artists took to oil and canvas to depict these strong images,

    Painting or photographing lighthouses also took artists to locations that happened to be beautiful: often on a point, almost always close to water, and at times on spectacular rocks or cliffs. Although the importance of lighthouses has diminished somewhat in the modern era of radar/sonar, etc., the aesthetic appeal is perhaps stronger than ever due to their beauty, the long history of "heroic" narratives we have grown up with and passed along through stories and depicted in our art.

    Perhaps no region in the United States is more closely associated with lighthouses than New England. I took these photos on my trip to Maine last summer, where I sought out as many lighthouses as I could, in order to photograph them.

    These photos include:
    -Bass Harbor Lighthouse, Mt. Desert Island (black and white on the water's edge).
    -Two Lights State Park, Cape Elizabeth (the one next to the house and the one beyond the thistles and the bumblebee).
    -South Portland Breakwater (Bug Light): The tiny one at the entrance to South Portland Harbor
    -Portland Observatory: On the hill above the city- not a lighthouse but a signal tower nonetheless.
    -The iconic Portland Headlight on the point with Ram Island Ledge Light in the distance out in the sea

    #twolightsstatepark #bassharborheadlight #buglight #portlandheadlight #ramislandledge #portlandobservatory #lighthousphotos #maine #newengland #gentlemanbackpacker

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