I shot this image way back in 2004 when I was living and working in Guatemala. We had just left Mexico after a few months shooting in the Cenotes in the Yucatan. We were heading to our new base in Antigua, Guatemala but on the way, we decided to take a detour and travel through southern Mexico and Northern Guatemala. Our first stop in Guatemala was San Pedro La Laguna. A beautiful little evangelical town on the far shore of Lake Atitlan.
The town has religious quotes and sayings painted all over the buildings to encourage positivity and good living. Much the same as the one depicted in the image. I was attracted to this particular quote due to what it said, “God Loves you” and the soft yet rugged tones of the whop front. A small bakery. I could see the potential for a great image but just needed all the elements to come together. I was really looking for someone to include in the shot but still keeping the image clean and the message clear. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to portray that message but I knew I would when I saw it. The issue was that the bakery was in a busy San Pedro La Laguna street that leads to the local market so getting a person in the frame wasn’t a problem. Not getting lots of people and multiple other distracting elements were however.
On the opposite corner from the bakery was a little ice cream shop with a few seats outside. From here I could get the perfect shot once all the elements did finally come together. It helped that the ice cream was pretty good as well.
I sat at this same spot taking many frames for multiple hours over multiple days. When finally this man approached and took a seat directly opposite the quote and put his face in his hands in perfect unison with the sign. A very short gap in the crowds appeared. I managed to fire off two frames before we were engulfed by shoppers.
It had taken a long time to produce this shot but the overwhelming feeling of creating a piece of art was well worth it. Even all these years later it is still the image I am most proud of.
Camera settings; Fuji Velvia – ISO 400, f/5.6 @ 1/200
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