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FIRST COMMUNION (Photo courtesy of Bob Howen).

Capturing an important ritual.


Logistics first.  My dad is the Bob Howen to whom the photograph is credited.  After 22 years in the Air Force and at least as long in business, Dad found his true calling and became San Antonio’s premier landscape photographer, not that his subjects are limited to the city.  To peruse, and possibly purchase, his fine work you can go to www.bobhowenphotography.com. I will lean on Dad heavily for contributions to the images portion of “Consider This.”

This particular picture so perfectly captures the purity of youth.  The white of the gowns speaks for itself, but you can also sense the girls’ energy as they make their way to the church.  Without seeing their faces you know their happiness. Setting aside the composition and mystery, though, the thing about the photograph that strikes me the most is that the girls are walking to the big event.

We spend so much of our lives cosseted in luxury (read fine Corinthian leather, individual climate controls and entertainment screens built into headrests) that walking as a mode of transportation seems unlikely.  Particularly so when the destination is an important life event.  As an unfortunate result, our communities are arranged rather than organic.

We have a church community but it is a congregation of the like minded.  We are friends with the parents of our children’s teammates but those teammates come from all over the city to be part of a travel team based on similar abilities.  Maybe it is a projection of my overactive imagination, but the way the girls in the photograph  merge with their environment despite being overdressed for it suggests a sense of community.  You can imagine the beams of neighbors who “know their uncle” or have similar connections.  Their big day is everyone’s day.

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