This was taken in the centre of Bedford UK on a very cold and very overcast February morning in 2010. To be quite honest the light was abysmal. I noticed that a woman was standing on the Embankment beside the River Great Ouse, which runs through the centre of the town, near to the Town Bridge, in the background of the picture, and throwing bread for the birds. Some of the bread she threw into the river which is about 7' to 8' below the Embankment at the point where she was for the many swans and ducks. The rest she threw on the ground around her and the stone balustrade beside the river. Flocks of pigeons and gulls swooped in to grab the free food and I began to take several shots.
Then I began to notice how some of the pigeons were landing on the balustrade and especially the shape of the wings. Suddenly I saw the dove in the picture and realised that it was about to land on the balustrade and from my position if I timed it right the curve of the dove's wings would be echoed by the curve of the Town Bridge's arches behind it. The picture was taken with one single shot; this was a once only opportunity to get it right so if I mistimed it there was nothing I could do about it. Luckily I got almost exactly the shot that I had envisioned. Which is about as much as one can ask for with this kind of photography.
With the shot I was trying to evoke the religious symbolism of the white dove and subtly subvert it too. The shape of the wings echoes the way that those of angels are sometimes portrayed, yet the dove's body shape with its head forwards is similar to that of a demon like church gargoyle. This visual metaphor is emphasised by the stonework of the bridge in the background echoing that of a medieval church. Also, the white dove is a symbol of peace yet here it's body shape could be interpreted as suggesting aggression. Finally, the white dove is also, especially in Roman Catholic iconography, the symbol of the Holy Ghost and usually seen with its head pointing towards the ground descending from heaven. Here however the dove, or Holy Ghost, seems to be heading directly, and somewhat aggressively, towards the viewer.
Having explained all of the above I'll leave it to the viewer to interpret my feelings towards Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, as they see fit.