My postings on social media have been about my philosophy on dignity and excellence regarding fine art portraits. KGS Studios is currently the most high-end portrait studio we know of anywhere. Still, I created some fantastic works before focusing strictly on portraits, and one older project is resurfacing now.
In 2012, San Antonio's County Judge, Nelson Wolff, visited my studio and saw the grand-scale architectural photography I had created that caused a sensation in the grand-scale arena. He saw something in my work and mentioned that he wanted our County Courthouse to be photographed in this manner after renovations.
In August 2015, I met with Judge Wolff in his offices, intending to get a commission to create a grand-scale photograph of the Court House. He had a different suggestion, however. He had just returned from Bonn, Germany, where his nine-year project to enter the San Antonio Missions into the UNESCO World Heritage system was finally concluding successfully.
Judge Wolff suggested I create a grand scale collection of the new "World Heritage Missions," one image per Mission. I had an epiphany in his office as I instantly visualized what this would look like when finished. It would change the brand of San Antonio.
Change the brand of San Antonio? What? San Antonio has a rich 300-year continuous community, which has fractured into cliques and groups who do not cooperate, and in fact, they hold each other back. The "brand" for what it is boils down to cheap tourism, a significant military presence, and a universal provincial attitude. Even Judge Wolff said, "We're funny that way."
I am not a San Antonio native but have lived all over the country doing so many different things, so when I came here, I was an outsider, and after 24 years here, I still am. I do one thing very well, however: to leverage a brand, a legacy, or a concept and do it visually.
As I created the World Heritage Missions collection, I was struck with our history, community, and potential. I pledged to leave a mark on the community and follow my "calling" to do my best to lift the community and make it a better place.
At the time, San Antonio did not embrace World Heritage. The prospect of gentrification of the Missions and driving out families who have lived adjacent to them for generations was terrifying. My collection of the Missions when they became World Heritage sites resulted in one sale. Still, I had to put it on hold for a few years.
Now in 2023, a World Heritage Center is being built. The Alamo Plaza is being reimagined and redesigned. The time is perfect for re-introducing the World Heritage Missions collection and rebranding our community for good.
Over the next few weeks, I'll unveil videos and other content to celebrate the World Heritage Missions. I'll build a grassroots campaign to unite our community on a concept that we all can agree upon; The World Heritage Missions are the core of our community and should be celebrated and shared with the world.
I have created three limited edition collections of the Missions. I will do my best to transform them into a new "brand" for the community based on a 300-year history (unique in our country), bringing the community together under one banner that all agree is good for each other.
I won't change the world, but I want to use this concept to get people to agree with one another for one thing; it's a small step in re-introducing dignity and excellence at a time they are scarce and ultimately valuable.
Join me in celebrating the World Heritage Missions by following my journey and helping to spread the word. Some people believe in this community the way I do and will want to participate in this transformation. Thank you for your time, as always.