Sunday, February 19, 2017

Convento de la Concepción

Iglesia de la Concepción

The Convent of the Conception was built on land donated to the Catholic church in 1563 and was completed by Bishop Francisco Marroquín in 1620. The adjoining church was completed in 1729. The convent was considered the most elegant in the region and, in the words of English Dominican friar Thomas Gage, "The other convents are also very rich but after the Dominicans nothing could come close to the ruins of Conception." So, too, was the city of Antigua the epitome of Spanish city planning and architecture. It was considered the second most splendid city in Spanish America after Mexico City itself.

Iglesia de la Concepción from Calle 4

Young Mayas beside the northern wall of the ruins of El Convento de la Concepción

Native Antigueña Juana de Maldonado y Paz took her vows just as the convent was being completed so that she could devote herself completely to her artistic and intellectual pursuits. She took the name Sister Juana de la Concepción. She was not required to pay a dowry because her services as a musician were in such demand. Her father, a prominent judge, built Sister Juana living quarters that were known for their opulence and soon her rooms were full of poets, painters and writers. In 1648 she became the abbess of Concepción a role she filled till her death in 1666.

Among the descriptions of the convent are these numbers: 103 nuns referred to as "inmates", 140 pupils and 700 maids and slaves. Clearly, this was a four star convent.

The reign of Antigua as the second jewel in the Spanish crown was cut short when the city along with the convent and church were severely damaged by the earthquake of 1751 and leveled by the massive Santa Marta quake of 1773.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

More Faces of Antigua


While I collect myself after twelve claustrophobic hours in airborne steerage yesterday here are more faces of Antigua. I attribute the paucity of wordage in today’s entry to the aforementioned fatigue. That and pounding music that reached my ninth floor digs in Guatemala City's Zona 10 till 2 am. I didn't think that was possible.


Maybe just one more.


The Mennonite attire surprises, yes? 

And, finally, big props to the best backdrops in the known world.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Ruinas y la gente


Antigua is a trove of street photography and of ruins left by the earthquake of 1773. The enormous quake prompted the capital of Guatemala to move from Antigua to Ciudad Vieja and later to Guatemala City. That was a good thing for Antigua and for visitors who can revel in the Spanish Colonial city, Guatemala’s cultural hub. The beautiful town has remained small and its colonial architecture and abundant ruins occupy every block or so it seems.




Today, however, we look at the human stories that prevail on its streets.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Bent to the task



An abiding image of Antigua is that of indigenous women from the campo (the countryside) bent to work from dawn to dusk, toting the heavy loads of life. While their colorful Mayan attire would seem to call for the technicolor treatment, black and white conveys the weight of their burden more fully. And the shadows lend a certain poignancy to the depictions it seems to me.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I am woman hear me roar


From Helen Reddy’s 1971 paean to feminism to the central park in Antigua, Guatemala the voices of a hundred or so women and not a few men were raised in solidarity and in hope and resistance of the virulent strain of intolerance, misogyny and xenophobia that has swept 43% of our country. To observe it was to be lifted by the joyful noise. Here are faces in a crowd of strong women the likes of which were heard in the millions around the globe.







Helen Reddy turned 75 years old in October.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Por Qué No


The photograph called Lonely Place came in second in the renowned Keeler, California photographic sweepstakes of 2006. This is my fallback post since I will be jet-lagged somewhere in Central America on the 15th and reeling from an excess of cerveza negra consumed at my pocket sized favorite corner bar. Por Qué No.

That proved to be wishful thinking as Por Que No was cerrado on domingo and I wound up at a British pub waiting an hour for a mediocre burger while quaffing dark beer and watching the Green Bay packers eke out a victory over the favored Dallas Cowboys with three seconds to go. One Brit, one Welsh rugby player cum sailor and one Utah Mormon later I'm posting this with only a modicum of interest. Yawn.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

For your perusal as usual

Reflection in puddle, Los Angeles

Looking back at a year of images serves a purpose I suppose. You see what you saw in the year just ended and, objectively speaking, how you came up short and where you, on occasion, got one right. For the second and last time I’ve sorted through the year that was and have these eclectic numbers for your perusal.

Metropolitan Water Building, Los Angeles

San Cristobal and Sangre de Cristos

Andrew Abeyta and newborns

Generations, Denver

Time warp, Lowell, AZ

Silvery stream near Tucumcari

Gnome with ear horn, Bisbee, AZ

Luis at Llano San Juan

Pilings in surf, San Simeon Beach