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Quite some years ago, two friends and I decided to go on an architectural photographic odyssey in southern Arizona and northern Mexico to photograph missions established by Jesuit missionary Father Kino in the late 1600’s. San Xavier del Bac near Tucson Arizona is the best known example of missions he established.
We began our journey there and spent a day making images before crossing the border into Mexico and photographing other Father Kino missions in the Sonora. The first one we visited was a small domed mission church in an equally small village, San Ignacio. The residents were very intrigued and pleased by we three anglos suddenly appearing with tripods and big view cameras photographing their village church. They eventually asked us if we wanted to go up on the roof and photograph what they considered to be the best view.
A large key was produced and a priest brought us up onto the roof where we had a great time photographing the domes and towers of their church. From then on, we asked to visit the roofs of all the missions we visited and we were never refused. Each roof and each church was a treasure trove of photographic opportunities. When we finally were back into the US and again in Tucson we decided to go back to San Xavier del Bac to request a roof visit there. The head priest listened to the story of our trip, thought about it and agreed we should visit this roof also. We spent a long time up there photographing and this image of one of the San Xavier del Bac bell towers is my favorite of that roof visit. That was one of the most memorable of the numerous photographic trips I have made over the many years since then and I have always been grateful to the generous mission officials and kind people of Mexico who made our trip so special.
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