iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography


When should you stand for your beliefs? Thomas Abel (or Abell) may have thought about this as he was in the Tower of London awaiting execution for being a heretic:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/390

I took this shot for a number of reasons. One is that I knew this week’s challenge was forsaken, certainly, the Tower of London would provide a photo that would match that idea. A second reason is that I had read about this piece of graffiti in the book The Burning Time by Virginia Rounding. I’m about halfway through reading the book, but it does make a pretty good case for keeping your religious views to yourself in England, July 1540.  Abel was executed along with two other Catholics and three Protestants. Charges against Abel stemmed from his public support of Katherine of Aragon.

I used my iPhone because it was hard to get a photo in this part of the Tower. It was crowded and the light wasn’t great.  I chose this angle because even the shadow seems determined to blot out Thomas Abel, which I felt tied well to the theme of forsaken. I then cropped the photo. Doing this removed the edges of the plastic cover that is over the graffiti and also a number which corresponds to some information about Mr. Abel on a nearby display. I did boost the clarity, I also warmed the tone of the picture a bit to make the shadows more pronounced.

Having visited the place where he was kept prisoner, seen his rebus, and read about him, I still am left to wonder what motivated him to make such a stand.  As the book, The Burning Time points out, plenty of people did not speak about their religious beliefs, they simply moved with the times. Considering that Abel was executed with people who didn’t share his religious convictions, it’s pretty clear how dangerous it was to speak of any religious matter publicly at this time.

For me, it was interesting to be reading about this time in history when I was also able to see it on display. Do you ever line up photography and reading in this way? Do you think this photo is a good representation of forsaken? Feel free to leave a comment below.



22 thoughts on “Forsaken

  1. Yes, been imprisoned in Tower of London would have created a feeling of being forsaken, wouldn’t. Today you don’t risk being executed for expressing your beliefs in most place at least, but you do risk getting hate message on social media. For me what makes the photo express forsaken is not only the story of Thomas Abel, but visually the shadow crossing over the carving.


  2. I think it’s a well taken and well processed photo. Good work there, and it causes one to think even more about it when they know the history.

    It’s particularly appropriate for times like these – when many people in the majority hold beliefs that may not be religious in nature, but that approach religious fervor in intensity. Speak out against them, and be silenced or shunned. This picture spoke to me for that reason.


  3. Forsaken. Yes this photo represents that well. I have never heard of this person or this history. That means that we have forsaken him, forsaken his story , forsaken this history and this time. Nice one PJB. And thanks for this interesting bit of history.


  4. how cool to be able to align your reading with the actual sites – very cool.
    and after pondering your points and questions – the only thought i Have is that “there is a time to speak up and a time to refrain from speaking up” – and I hope I have the wisdom if the situation is ever this dangerous.
    I do not want to be a passive wimp but there might be times to wait it out and chill….
    so hard to say.
    I read a book in the 1990s (Goodbye is not forever) and the girl’s father – in Russia – spoke up too much and was carted off to jail and left his family in a very vulnerable position – and they never forgave him – kind of sad – and well, i wonder if it was moot either way for him, but at times i wondered if he made a huge mistake because he got so pissy with the guards –
    there is a time to shut the heck up!!!


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