Just another day at this one-man barber shop in Oaxaca Mexico. Do people really pick their haircuts from a poster?
I will never be accused of making simple photographs. Actually, it is not in my nature to do anything simply. This image flirts with danger, but my eye never leaves the frame.
This scene was at the market in the little town of Metla. Tourists (that included us) head to Metla to visit the ruins but their street market was going strong in preparation for Dia de Los Muertos. We stopped for a little while and gave the town locals a good laugh with our cameras. This woman was the greatest. She had the chicken seller pulling out each bird, upon which she would weight in her arms and then ask seller for a different one. Only the best chicken for Dia de Los Muertos. I’ve made the chicken’s the star.
Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on October 31, November 1 and November 2, in connection with the Christian triduum of Hallowmas: All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.
I had the honor of visiting several cemeteries in the towns surrounding Oaxaca City for Dia de Los Muertos this year. These images were from the town of Santa Maria Atzompa on October 31st, though we witnessed similar sights in Xoxocotlan and San Filipe del Agua. The cemeteries were overwhelming and the task of capturing the the scene and their mood was daunting.They were both solemn and festive, traditional and modern, quite and loud all at the same time. Street festival took place just outside the gates and there was plenty of mescal being poured. At one point I found myself in a dose-doe with a drunken man in a cowboy hat, as we tried to pass on the narrow paths between the grave sites.
It has been a few weeks since my visit and the distance has only served to strengthen my memories as I look back on these scenes. The cemeteries glow with candles and the air is filled with the potent smell of wild marigolds (cempazutchil) accented with bright red cockcomb (terciopelos). It is visually overwhelming and surreal.
On a photographic note, it is maddeningly difficult to print these images. It is hard enough printing night images, but these images have an additional challenge. The natural shade of the bright orange marigold and the magenta of the red cockscomb are “out of gamut” color on most printers. I am still working through finding a solution.
Did I mention the wild marigolds in Oaxaca?
I don’t know if it is traditional to be married around Dia de Los Muertos, but we saw a lot of weddings. It is always tricking “stealing” a photograph from a professional photographer, but I saw this apprehensive little girl and the little details around her as the star of my show.
Each day, I would see these boys and their dogs on the main pedestrian street leading from Santo Domingo de Guzman chuch to the Zocolo (town square).
A small mercado just a few blocks from Santa Domingo church in Oaxaca. I like the special touch of the green, red, and white plastic bags – the colors of Mexico.
I was originally drawn to this scene due to the women buying and butchering the chickens. The man delivering a new box full was my gift for waiting around for something to happen.