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Exhibit celebrates 50 years of documenting San Antonio's most interesting sights

El Coleadero at the Charreada
Al Rendon
El Coleadero at the Charreada

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Al Rendon, one of San Antonio's longest-running photographers, is being recognized with an art exhibit at the Witte Museum, which opens Saturday, Sept. 2.

Rendon's career passed through many phases, and he captured it all for this exhibit.

“Back in 1973 when I started taking pictures at rock and roll concerts, one of the first concerts I went to was the Led Zeppelin concert. This is 2023, so it's been 50 years,” he said.

The exhibit is titled Mi Cultura — Bringing Shadows Into the Light: The Photography of Al Rendón. The 61-portrait show documents how he turned his camera toward the city and its people.

“When I first started in the business, it was more as a commercial photographer,” he said. “And being a commercial photographer in San Antonio, you're kind of almost expected to do just about anything.”

And that’s just what he did. When he wearied of rock-n-roll concerts, he began work for the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and then the Fiesta Commission.

"And in that process, I got exposed to the Charreada, which I fell in love with and started documenting on my own time and created a body of work that was eventually turned into a book back in 2002,” Rendon said.

Then he turned his camera to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, the Witte Museum and then the Southwest School of Art. The sum of all of this work for cultural outlets meant that Rendon had a front-row seat to document what makes San Antonio what it is.

“This town has grown and changed dramatically in my lifetime,” he said. “And a lot of the people I photographed back in the seventies and eighties aren't around anymore. And a lot of the buildings aren't around anymore.”

The exhibit opens Saturday, but those wishing to meet Rendon can do so can return on September 19th when the Witte features him on a meet-the-artist night, which is also a free admission night from 6-to-9. The exhibit runs through Jan. 7 next year.

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii