Stephen Ernst, author of Lunenburg, a History in Pictures
1. What inspired you to do the book about the Town of Lunenburg?
Quite simply, I have been passionate about Lunenburg and Nova Scotia history all of my life. As a ninth-generation descendant of the settlers of Lunenburg, I have always felt a pride with this community. Whether as a child hearing the famous tales of the Bluenose, or the exciting adventures of my ship's captain grandfather, or today as I make my home and business in the town I love so well, Lunenburg has left a lasting effect on me, and it is my hope that my efforts to share some of the history and beauty show through with this book.
2. Why should people care about their history?
History is alive all around us. It is certainly not a distant array of facts found in the leaves of some dusty old tome, but a living, breathing vibrant entity that plays its part in past, present and future. History in Lunenburg stands on its own, as it still plays a crucial role in the town today. Many of the images found in the book show streetscapes and buildings that are largely unchanged over the years, and the viewer can easily gain a sense of the history this town offers by seeing the photographs in comparison to today. Lunenburg and history go hand in hand.
3. This is your first book. What was it like to work on the project?
To say it was a learning curve would be an understatement. I have always wanted to work on a book, and as a photographer and historian, this was an excellent way to combine the two. Even though I have studied Lunenburg history most of my life, research for this book taught me things that I did not know, which serves as a reminder that we never stop learning.
4. What would you like people to take away from your book?
Hopefully, they will see the pride in this town as is evident throughout the photographs, and is still felt today. Perhaps they will gain that extra curiosity that comes when they look at these ancient buildings and wonder what "front row seat" to the passage of time has been seen in these walls, and ideally, maybe that curiosity will leave a lasting effect, that reminds us all of the importance of preserving our past.
5. Who was the greatest influence in your life?
Influence is drawn from many places, and it is almost impossible to name any one, or even a group of people. For the purposes of this book, I must tip my hat to the people of Lunenburg who had the foresight to document the evolving history of the town, either through photographs and other forms of imagery, or through written documentation, so future generations can continue to learn the history of this storied town.