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Creating Photographs at the Day of the Dead – Oaxaca City, Mexico
Image by Sam Antonio Photography
Update for October 31, 2013
Halloween is for trick or treating, even though the Day of the Dead is an assault on all your senses. I made this photograph final year although experiencing the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca City, Mexico.
“The word death is not pronounced in New York, in Paris, in London, simply because it burns the lips. The Mexican, in contrast, is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it, it is one of his favorite toys and his most steadfast love." – Octavio Paz, a native of Mexico and winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in literature
El Dia del Muertos (The Day of the Dead) is common celebration all through Latin America, specifically in Mexico. I know zombies are the flavor of the month in today’s popular culture, but that is not what this celebration is about.
The Day of the Dead is a Mexican vacation and is celebrated throughout Mexico. Family members and buddies get together to pray and remember their loved ones who have passed away. This is not a time of mourning, but rather it is a joyful celebration of life, food, close friends and family.
The history of the Day of the Dead is a syncretism of Pre-Hispanic and Spanish customs. The celebration requires location on November 1–2, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2).
In the lovely colonial city of Oaxaca, Mexico I was able to take in the sights, sounds and smiles of the Day of the Dead.
On the days leading up to November 1 and two (along with celebrating the Catholic holidays, on the 1st, individuals celebrate the lives of lost kids, and on the 2nd they celebrate the spirits of adults) numerous parties erupt on the streets of Oaxaca. This is yet another Day of the Dead tradition called Comparsas which is a carnival-like procession of individuals in costume, dancing and wild music accompanied by a banda band (think Mexican Polka music).
In the morning, young young children, dressed in costumes, parade around town on their way to college. These kids comparsas circle about the town’s zocalo (public square) which produced for a vibrant public spectacle.
I had a wonderful time talking with Tosin at TIA International Photography on traveling the world and creating photographs. You can read my interview over here . It tends to make for wonderful bedtime reading given that it will rapidly place you to sleep. You have been warned!
There it was shattered on the ground in three pieces. 3 pieces was all that was left…numerous memories captured for a lifetime laying on the ground.
I stared at my broken Olympus Stylus compact film camera with stunned disbelief. Just a moment before I handed it to my brother, Rick, to take a photo of me and he jokingly fumbled with it to pretend it was going to slip out of his hand…unfortunately it did.
So there we were at the Rock of Gibraltar on the Iberian Peninsula with a broken camera and one angry brother.
Unbeknownst to me this would be my starting into digital photography. The year was 2000 and in 2001 I would acquire my very first digital camera, a Canon PowerShot S100. I would never ever load yet another roll of film in a camera once again.
In subsequent years I would purchase larger and more pricey Canon digital SLR cameras to parallel my developing understanding in photography. As with most budding photographers I began out taking snapshots, then progressing to “postcard” pictures and now I locate myself involved in expressive travel photography. Photography with meaning and emotion.
When I very first began to get critical with digital photography my primary concentrate was landscapes and cityscapes. One day I was in a cafe with a pal showing my photographs from a current trip. Soon after I was accomplished he said, “Great photos of buildings and landscapes, but what of the local folks? Where is the soul of the nation?” That comment has stuck with me ever since.
In 2008 I began to change my concentrate from gorgeous sunsets, cityscapes at dusk, and national parks to men and women photography, in certain, street photography.
Henri Cartier-Bresson mentioned, "You never take a photograph, the photograph takes you."
That is the essence of street photography. You never know what is about that next corner, who will step in the frame or how your subject will react.
Photographing individuals in my travels has usually been tough. I have no problem delivering a speech prior to hundreds of people, but approaching strangers and asking for a photograph was a complete various story.
The excellent photojournalist Robert Capa as soon as stated, “If your images are not good adequate, you’re probably not close sufficient.” To comprehend the men and women you are photographing you need to be in proximity to them. It’s not the camera gear that makes a profitable photograph, but rather the connection you make with individuals that tends to make all the difference.
On my current trip to Mexico last year I wanted to take “good pictures” by receiving “close” to the Mexican people.
Ansel Adams as soon as stated, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
In the lovely colonial city of Oaxaca, Mexico the vibrant celebration of Day of the Dead celebration was pouring out on the streets. I saw this photogenic young girl and wanted to make her photograph. Ten minutes earlier there have been clouds in the sky generating for even, diffused light, all of a sudden some of those clouds dissipated which created for uneven light. I spotted one of the parents holding an umbrella as portion of their costume and I asked them if I could borrow it for a moment. I handed it to this young girl to shade her face and to cut down on the vibrant light.
I didn’t take this photograph, I created it.
Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography
Space Shuttle Enterprise Lifted into Dynamic Test Stand
Image by NASA on The Commons
Aerial view of Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise being hoisted into Marshall’s Dynamic Test Stand for the Mated Vertical Ground Vibration test (MVGVT). The test marked the initial time ever that the whole Space Shuttle components, an Orbiter, an External Tank (ET), and two Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB), have been mated together. Objective of the vibration tests was to verify that the Space Shuttle performed its launch configuration as predicted.
Image # : 7992403