My latest exhibition opens to the public in a week. It's called the "Sacred Expedition..." and is in commemoration of the legacy of Fr. Junipero Serra, founder of the California Missions in the 18th century. November 24 will be the 300th anniversary of his birth in Mallorca, Spain. I was blessed to go there and photograph his home, the convent where he started his journey, the monastery where he preached his last sermon before leaving for the New World on a one-way journey. The exhibit features not only my photography but that of Martín Vargas (an available-camera photographer) and Dr. Rubén Mendoza, professor at California State University, Monterey Bay and California Missions expert.
Once again, tech comes to our aide in crafting another exhibition for the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California.
Last year my friend and colleague Martín Vargas-García and I got about six weeks to pull off the reVisions: Mission San Juan Bautista. We didn't have enough of any California Mission for a show from our files so on the start of winter, we showed up and shot the Mission (it's three hours drive from me, fairly close, and just twenty minutes for Martín). Shot up a storm including the winter solstice illumination of the saints on the altar (a recently rediscovered phenomena) and found out that the Diocese's Bishop was coming the next day to conduct a Mass of Reconciliation to apologize to the Indians for their treatment during the days of the missions. We got them both.
The following week we printed, a week later they were delivered and the following week they were up. 36 museum prints in all and all on time.
Since this was our forth Mission Show and the public loved it, we were invited to do it again at the end of 2013.
Months went by but we didn't hear anything from them until the end of September. Originally they scheduled a December opening but because this is the 300th anniversary of Fr. Serra and they wanted to tie this into several other events of the commemoration, it got bumped to November. Though I had my work prepared for Mallorca, the show grew with the addition of Rubén and tie into the Missions.
Once again, both Martín and I looked at our Missions work in our files. We were short five of the Serra missions. Father Serra founded the first nine of the twenty-one California Missions before his death in 1784. So we decided to create new work of those in addition to the Mallorca photos.
Two missions were easy for the both of us to get since they are in the Bay Area. Martín and I met at Santa Clara de Asís in the morning. Lunch was with an old friend Kim Komenich, professor at San Jose State, now months behind on his exhibition I was to print for him to open yesterday (but that's another long story for another time). Martín and I headed up to San Francisco de Asís after lunch and shot there in the afternoon. Two were down and three more Missions were needed. Martín has a "real job" and family to care for, thus we had to work around his schedule. I have shooting and printing to keep my doors open. Luck would have it that he could get a couple of days off the following week right after the two of us would show our work at the Photographer's Rendezvous portfolio review near a week on October 18.
As we are planning, scheduling, shooting, crafting and printing, I'm designing a post card, preparing news realizes and photos for PR, sending them out to editors, posting on event sites, blazing out email and doing the social media shuffle putting the word out. It's walking and chewing gum time for me.
After our presentations on Sunday the 19th, we drove south, first to capture the last light on the convent at San Fernando del Rey (not a Serra Mission, but along the way) and then the next day to San Juan Capistrano and San Diego. Since it was a Monday, the places were uncrowded. We spent a second night in SoCal and headed north the next morning on the parking lot known as Interstate 5 at the end of the rush hour. We arrived before it opened and got our bonus photos of the lovely mosaics inside St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church a couple of miles before San Gabriel Arcángel. The museum and artifacts there are pretty neat since they also document local area history besides that of the Mission. We stopped at San Fernando del Ray a little later before getting nice photos there before our 300 mile drive back to get Martín home to go to work.
It was Mission Accomplished and the other show could be printed in time for for Komenich if he'd simply get it done!
In the mean time, Martín got a call from the Museum and they wanted prints ASAP for the "soft opening" yesterday. So, Martín showed up on Saturday night (just as I was finishing the printing and mounting) and we went to work for the next day and a half. On Monday, he drove 85 17x22 prints down to the Steinbeck for mounting and framing. An hour after he left, the show for procrastinating Kim Komenich was on the FedEx truck to Dallas for its opening last night. Here's the link to that show: http://www.ochbergsociety.org/ochberg-society-photographers-present-the-iconic-image/
But we still needed a book and also a website for those who could not make it down to the "Sacred Expedition". So after crashing and burning on Monday getting two exhibits out the door, I started taking the master files and put on my designer's hat to create the book. Wednesday, I was nearly done but had to do a radio interview on the exhibit, and proof-read and pass it by Martín, got it to the P.O.D. printer Magcloud in time to have twenty copies at the opening on Friday.
I thought the hard part was over since the website simply needed me to resize and run the final print files as jpeg files and upload. But there was a glitch with the jpeg files and the metadata couldn't be attached to half of them. I open the problem images in Bridge and then attached the captions, headlines, creator, etc. in groups and one-at-a-time for fine tuning. The uploading went without a hitch, though.
Initial phone call to opening: just over five weeks.
The show is up at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California, and is open to the public daily. The reception is Friday. The book is on the way and the website is live where you can see our photos: http://angier-fox.photoshelter.com/gallery/The-Sacred-Expedition/G000018q8ThRADDY/
There's more than the show in the web gallery. To make the book flow, I had to use additional photos from the files and there's bonus images that are not in the exhibit.
So, if you find yourself visiting in the Bay Area or Monterey in the next three months, stop by and see the real work on the wall.