In the Realm of the Catrina

A few days ago I finished my 8th season in Oaxaca photographing the Day of The Dead festivities. Over the years this event has become more of a “family” reunion than a photographic event. For me it is a time to visit friends, talk about their lives and after a brief encounter say goodbye until next year. I have known these families for more than a decade. I have seen births and seen their children grow, I have seen weddings and funerals and I have spent many dawns at graves full of light and love. All of these experiences are way more valuable than any picture.

Participants in the workshops have become very much part of this celebration for me. Many have been in Oaxaca for several of my trips and over the years developed strong ties to the community. Sure we photograph, but we laugh, cry, dance and absolutely render ourselves to the sweet embrace of Mezcal. “Photography is a by-product of the experience”.In the graveyard the brief but heartfelt encounter with my colleagues and friends is always magical.

Oaxaca during this time is madness, nothing can describe the feeling of being in the middle of a “Comparsa”, it is unreal, crazy but a world of fun. Here the streets are full music, dances and an army of amazing “Catrinas”leading the way for the “souls” to return to earth. As part of the process of finding unique subjects among a sea of people, every year you make new friends, relationships built by a simple “click” of a camera.

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