On Location – Patzcuaro, Mexico

Art was just in Patzcuaro, Mexico, photographing the Day of the Dead festival.  During this holiday families gather for prayer and remembrance of departed family members.  They clean and decorate cemeteries and churches, and celebrate life. Here is what Art had to say about the experience-

“Most Americans don’t deal with death in a straight forward manner.  As a culture we tend to make it a subject of much avoidance.  When I was asked to shoot the Dia de los Muertos in southwestern Mexico earlier this month, I approached it with great interest and naivete.  As I photographed in the days leading up to the holiday, I began to understand just how important it is, even more so than Christmas.  I was deeply moved by the way the community prepared for the Day of the Dead, vigorously cleaning churchyards and decorating cemeteries in colorful blankets of flowers, glowing candles, and overflowing baskets of food.  The holiday is not sad, but rather a celebration of life and love and family.  What I initially thought would be somber was, in fact, hugely uplifting and illuminating, both spiritually and photographically.”

NEW! Day of the Dead, Mexico – Images by Art Wolfe

2 Responses to “On Location – Patzcuaro, Mexico”

  1. Mario L says:

    Well said Art. I agree that people in the US do not deal well with death and try to avoid any mention of it. In all my working career, colleagues and friends almost never bring up the subject. Having european parents and coming to this country as a child I see a vast difference at how we americans view the departed compared to many other parts of the world. My mother’s care and meticulous manicuring of my late father’s gravesite on her weekly visits to the cemetery always move me. Although he is no longer with us physically he will always be a part of us.

    Additionally I always thought being present at a loved ones passing would be devastating. Being at my father’s side in his final moments and a few years later my Uncle’s profoundly changed me. As sad as it was, it was as natural as being born. Although I’m not the most religious person in the world I never felt more spirituality than at a loved ones death.

    I feel we would all be the better for it if we had something like this day in the US, but sadly I don’t see it happening any time soon.

    Beautiful work as always Art.

  2. Clytie says:

    What beautiful photos. We would do well to learn from other cultures. The trick is to see beyond the show into the hearts of the people. It looks like you have succeeded.

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