Barbed history

In college I took an American history class under a professor who passionately despised how history was taught in public schools. Honestly, I believe he despised any teaching of history that did not happen by him and in his seminars. He said they were full of “linear tidiness,” moving from major event to major event. So for his lectures, he would bring in mundane objects or old slide photographs of unknown places or people. From these object or slides, he would reconstruct an entire history. One lecture he brought in some barbs and wire with barbs on them. He went on to tell us about the barb wire inventor and patents and how it was testament of early American entrepreneurism. Then on asides, he pointed out how barb wire changed the entire landscape of America and had tremendous impacts on livestock with the loss of open range grazing…and then how it raised tensions between local farmers and the bigger cattle companies…then how that touched on cattle rustling, pistol carrying cowboys, outlaws, property rights, troop movements during the civil warβ€”well you get the point. Rarely did his constellated lectures come full circle, but I did learn more in that history class than any of my others. Or at least learned a great deal about barbed wire πŸ™‚

Continuing the theme, here is a barb and what is either a strand of horse or cow hair. 50mm, f/16, 1/6s, with Kenko extension tube. In post, I raised the exposure a hair and tweaked the luminosity slider on the orange color in Lightroom to bring the rust out a bit more.

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17 thoughts on “Barbed history

  1. I love your story. I think i wouldve enjoyed the history class as I love hearing about the history of everyday life and how people lived as opposed to just wars and trials.

    I like the photo as well, looking forward to more in this series (especially texture Thursday).

  2. sounds like an innovative and fun way to teach. I sure would have loved that style of teaching and learning !

    also great contrast between the complementary rusty and fresh color in this image

  3. I found history at school to be one of the most boring subjects imaginable, maybe I would have liked it more with your professor. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for the story. πŸ™‚

      • I just love learning about some of the more mundane parts of our history. Everyone gets the basics, all the major wars and events, but the little things like barbed wire and where it came from gives a more complete picture.

  4. Love the hairs, bokeh and the details in this image…I am totally looking forward to this theme (if, that is, you decided to continue)!

    Wish my history classes were as interesting as yours sounded, mine were all pretty boring!

  5. Really great photo. I love texture, especially rusted objects. History was never a favorite of mine, but they say a teacher who is excited about his subject can interest you in anything. He sounds like one of those teachers.

  6. The rust on the bright green is a very nice combination. The shallow DOF and the line of the wire make for a great composition. History was never my subject. Too many facts to remember.

  7. It’s interesting how a simple invention such as barbed wire could have such wide-reaching ramifications. Sounds more interesting than our history lessons, which were almost entirely about WWII (and a little about Henry VIII and his wives). My friends from abroad seem shocked at how obsessed the British are with Hitler and WWII, and how little we know about any other era in European history.

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