Angel of Faith

35mm black and white film
caption by gary s. whitford

I have always loved capturing photos that record the unique culture of San Antonio, but which also say something standing on their own.


I took this photo in 2003, I think, at Mission San Jose, after the Los Pastores Christmas pageant play. The pageant is a very old tradition. When I took the photo, that particular production of the pageant had been going on for something like sixty years, but the play itself dates back to the time of the founding of the missions.


The play tells the Christmas story from the point of view of the shepherds (‘los pastores’), who travel to Bethlehem to see the newborn Savior. The Devil tries to prevent them from getting there, and an Angel does battle on their behalf.


The production is very dramatic, with singing and capes and swordplay and everything.


I really fell in love with this one little person who played that angel, because she carried around this humongous sword.


So when the play was over. I ran up to her and asked her if she would pose for just one picture.


Later, I applied a caption to it as part of a series I was doing of Angels and Devils, and I think the photo and the caption are especially appropriate now, with the difficulties we’ve all had to face in recent times.

See more of Al's work on his website.