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Ruben Munguia

35 mm black and white film

I’ve been documenting San Antonio’s people, places, and culture for fifty years, and I’m finally ready to put it all together in an exhibit and a book. The Witte museum has graciously agreed to host the show in the fall of 2023.

In preparation, I’ve been going through my files, doing research. This shot of Ruben Munguia is one of the unpublished photos that I rediscovered.

Over the years, I’ve taken hundreds and hundreds of photos of people who had a role in making San Antonio what it is, and the Munguia family played a big role in the community.

Ruben Munguia’s father, Romulo Munguia, Sr., was a Mexican revolutionary who left Mexico after breaking with party leadership in the 1920s. He relocated to San Antonio and started a print shop. The print shop became pretty successful, printing community newspapers and grocery circulars for the region.

But it was even more important politically, becoming a meeting place for West Side leaders. Henry Cisneros even worked at the shop when he was younger.

I did this portrait of Ruben in his print shop back in the mid 1990s. It was part of a monograph book I started on San Antonians with connections to The Alameda Theater’s history. 

The inspiration for the project came from Henry R. Munoz III who, at the time, was spearheading an effort to restore the theater. 

Scholar Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto and I worked together on the book. We would set up a time to meet with each subject to interview them about their recollections of the Alameda and to photograph them. Unfortunately the book was never published, but we did get some great stories and photos, like this one of Ruben.

See more of Al's work on his website.

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