initial sand sculpting in the plaza
© Alicia Estrada
Participants will receive shooting instructions and lectures relating to particular
issues of photographing in Oaxaca, as well as photography in general. Critique/problem
solving sessions will follow most shooting events including the downloading
and viewing of digital images. Within the city there will be a shooting excursion
to the Mercado Abastos to photograph and buy figuros, bread, flowers – articles
needed for the special ofrendas (altars). We will visit The San Miguel Cemetery
during the day when graves are being cleaned and sand carpets and altars are
under construction. We will return at night for the candlelight, music, and
processions. There will be shooting field trips to local villages like the comparsa in Etla, where local people dress in outfits with mirrors
and bells to dance in the plaza; the San Antonino Cemetery where prizes are
awarded for the most unusual and elaborate decorations on ther unique mounded
tomb formations; Xoxocotlan with flowers, candles, and people crowded together.
Arrazola provides a change of pace and visits to shops and homes of some of
Oaxaca’s talented wood carvers. Include the Holloween parades of children in
the morning and innumerable processions through the plaza of young people and
adults in the evenings wearing costumes or carrying candles you have countless,
incredible photo opportunities.
ABOUT THE DAY OF THE DEAD CELEBRATION
Mexican “Day of the Dead” celebrations hold much fascination for visitors.
It is a soleman and prayer-filled celebration, yet it is festive and even irreverent
– grinning sugar skulls are a common adornment. It is a remarkable merging
ofpre-Hispanic “cult of the dead” traditions with Roman Catholic All Saints
and All Souls Day remembrances. During Day of the Dead, ancestral spirits are
invited to return to visit those who continue on Earth. The dead are lured
by colorful, flower-filled altars decorated with bread, sugar figures and offerings
of favorite dishes and drinks that the departed enjoyed during life.
In Oaxaca, Day of the Dead includes fabulous
SAND SCULPTED CARPETS in Bellas
Artes and in the cemeteries. Each surrounding village has its own special twist
on the celebration – dances are performed in one, the souls of small childdren
are thought to visit at four in the afternoon in another. The commemorations
remind people that death is illusive, life is eternal and the intangible presence
of a loved one is everlasting.
Day of the Dead lasts for days in Oaxaca, presenting a week filled with isually
stunning images. Fabulous candlelit altars ae constructed in stores, churches
and homes. Blazing orange flowers line altars and gravesites to mark the way
for the spirits. “Sand carpets, mostly depicting religious figures, skeletons
and other images, can be photographed uring their construction and as they
are judged as finished work. Small villages, unkon to tourists, will be visited.