In 1886, Bernard Plockhorst, a German painter and graphic artist, created one of his most iconic paintings: Heilige Schutzengel. Plockhorst’s painting, showing an angel and two little children close to an abyss, was reproduced as a color lithography in thousands of copies and greatly influenced the later pictures of guardian angels – most notably, Lindberg’s of the 1960’s.
My grandmother had a copy of Lindberg’s Guardian Angel in her guest room when I grew up, and that image somehow stuck with me through my life, until the day came when I created this image in the streets of Hanover, a small but historically rich village in the Northern Cape of South Africa while on assignment for Discover South Africa.
The minute I noticed this mother walking along home with her two children by her side, I was reminded of the image of the Guardian Angel. When I asked if I could take their picture, the little boy hid behind his mother’s skirt, and she scolded him for hiding. He gingerly peeked out, with the knotted plastic shopping bag on his head.
As with most small towns in the interior of South Africa, the community of Hanover has it harder than most. This mother is, for all intents and purposes, these kids’ guardian angel, protecting them, guiding them through life, and teaching them to navigate it.
The proceeds from sales of this image will be donated to a community charity or charities that aid the women and children of Hanover.