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Mission San Xavier del Bac
Russel Kwan
fiber based silver gelatin
edition of 9

Mission San Xaver del Bac was founded over three hundred years ago, by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, a short distance from its current site. Father Eusebio named the church for St. Francis Xavier, the famous Jesuit "Apostle of the Indies". The current church was built in 1783 - 1797 by the Franciscan Fathers Juan Bautista Velderrain and Juan Bautista Llorenz to serve the local people, the Tohono O'odham.

Still a working mission, I find the history in these old places fascinating: the blend of old world and new world art, traditions and architecture, and the simple fact that this little church has survived centuries out in the desert for us to visit today. I visited outside of worship hours, where the simple quiet, the glow of the candles and the finery of the art puts one in the presence of God.

This picture is a great example of a negative that I've struggled, sometimes for years to print. In this case, I made the picture during our Drive Across America in the fall of 2007. Over the next year, I worked the negative hard, but the best I could do was this artist's proof. In the summer of 2009, I started experimenting with digital masks (click here for my article on digital masks for traditional silver gelatin printing). This print finally shows the mission in all its glory.

Image Keywords:

Series Keywords: Roadtrips in North America, Canada and the United States; The Pacific Northwest; The Desert SouthWest; The Gulf Coast; The Southeast and Atlantic; The Great Plains; Landscapes and the Urban Landscape.

General Keywords: quiet, calm, peaceful, silent, gentle, placid, secret, serene, tranquil, sublime, evocative, elegant, simplicity, inspire, subtle, haunting, contemplative, exquisite traditional film darkroom black and white photography, print, licensing, license, for sale, order, work on paper, dual toned, selenium, sulphide, sulfide, sepia, archival, Ilford, Kodak