Mission Photographs and Images, (requests for or about)

Do you know of a book or archive that ever had or published an image of Fr. Jose Altamira?

I have never seen reference to a contemporary image of Jose Altamira. If there was one it would have been a drawing or painting. My suggestion is that your nephew draw a picture of him. He arrived at Monterey in 1820, age 33. He did not make a favorable impression.

Can you help me find a picture of Father Jose Cavaller of Mission San Luis Obispo?

There are very few images of the mission era Franciscan friars. Remember that they lived well before the advent of photograph. If an image survived it had to be painted or drawn as was done with Fr. Junipero Serra when he was in Mexico City for a visit.

Can you tell us show a picture of one of the Stations of the Cross that hang in the San Gabriel Church?

The Stations of the Cross, also called The Way of the Cross and Via Dolorosa depict fourteen key events on the day of Christ’s crucifixion. The custom originated in medieval Europe. By the 17th century they were quite common in Catholic churches.


Here is a photograph we took of the second Station, where the cross is laid upon Jesus. We received permission from the mission to take this photograph.

How can I locate pictures of the back or the surroundings of a mission?

The missions used to be complete communities, with dozens of buildings. They were usually set up as a quadrangle. One of the few pictures every made of a historic quadrangle was take in 1875, showing San Buenaventura (in the town of Ventura).


The two mission that still have the most space around them (and have the most complete original complexes) are San Antonio de Padua (where the church and quadrangle were rebuilt) and La Purisima which is now a State Park. La Purisima has about 20 buildings and a coral with lots of animal.