San Xavier del Bac Mission
During the time in which my artist wife, Allison, was struggling to teach me photographic composition, we took a trip to Tucson, AZ, and found the San Xavier del Bac Mission.
As we often do, we separated to wander the Mission grounds on our own, agreeing to meet in an hour, to exchange our observations.
I walked down this lane, and found this wonderful wrought – iron fence, with the shapes of the fences repeating the shapes of the bells in the belfry, and the shapes of the cactus just behind the fence. In addition, the curve of the fence shapes exactly repeated the curve of the arches in the belfry!
It was “repetition of pattern” and then some, and I worked it for a half hour, trying different compositions. At that time, Allison had a habit of pointing out great compositional possibilities that I had walked right by, so I was very pleased that I had spotted this on my own. When I had exhausted all my ideas, I went to meet her, as we had planned.
We started exploring the Mission grounds together, and I walked her down the lane where I had found this image. She strolled right by the fence, without any reaction, so after a few minutes of walking elsewhere, I headed her back along the same lane, in the opposite direction. Again, she went right by the fence, without comment.
To make a long story short, we went along that lane five times, until she finally asked, “Haven’t we been down this lane several times? Why do you keep bringing us here?”
We were standing in front of the fence at the time. I replied, “Yes, we’ve been by here five times, and I’m waiting for you to see this great photo op!”.
“What photo op?”, she asked.
“Look at the fence in front of you”, I told her, and she did. “Now, look at the belfry of the mission”. She complied with my instructions.
“Now”, I said, “Look at the belfry through the fence, keeping both of them in focus at the same time!”.
I could tell when the compositional possibilities hit her, by the way her jaw dropped, and her eyes lit up …
by Mike Goldstein
Story and photos: © 2009 Mike Goldstein. All rights reserved.