After pulling some of these photos together and asking my husband to view them, he said, “Well, it looks very Catholic” and then went to bed. He didn’t say it pejoratively: it was a matter of fact. The missions of San Antonio are Catholic.
While in San Antonio, however, I saw more than the indulgent Churrigueresque churches. The palms and the dust, the business district situated only a few blocks from ruined neighborhoods with renegade dogs and cats reminded me of certain cities of Mexico. It was a strange invitation to forsake the idea of a vacation and instead walk the line between an aging present and a struggling past. (I already posted one of my favorite shots.)
Since I began taking photos some time in junior high, I’ve gone through phases of feeling like I knew what I was doing and just getting lucky. I’ve had some people tell me I’m half-decent and even use some of my work for album covers or weddings. Some professionals have rolled their eyes and offered me the concession that I have “a good eye” and little technical skill, which is probably close to the truth.
Early on, I decided to prioritize writing instead of developing visual art skills, which is funny because I’ve received nearly as much recognition for my photos as I have for articles. I’d rather memorize five different style manuals, read grammar books and blogs, and make my way through the ever-growing list of books I must read than take a photography class to improve my skills.
Collecting and grouping some of the very old and very recent photos of mine challenges me to curate the scads of images that I’ve captured over the years. The more I look at them, the more I realize that I take pictures of the things in the way I want them to come out in my writing. In this way, I’m not always sure my photography can stand on its own because the snapshots are my word bank; they are my mine. Still, if people can enjoy them as they are, I’m happy to share.