Saturday, May 24, 2014

Day of the Dead Photos, Oaxaca Cemetery Photos

Photography, Day of the Dead, Oaxaca Cemetery 
Text and Photos David Hilbert
Updated May 21, 2014

October 31 will start the cemetery visits during Oaxaca's Day of the Dead celebration.  The visits to the gravesites ends the week of parades, art exhibits, sand painting on the streets, and decoration in the stores and restaurants.  The  visits to the cemetery. (link) are a magic time in Oaxaca and a great event at which to make photos.   We present here the schedule of visits, the sites, and some tips on making Day Of The Dead photos in the cemeteries.

Oaxaca Cemeteries Open
     Oaxaca cemeteries open to visitors on the last night of October and the first two nights of November . October 31 Nov 1 and 2.  
      At the cemeteries thousands of candles illuminate the graves and make a great photo event.  The families have decorated with marigold flowers, cockscomb flowers, candles, and copal incense burners. Families gather and chant the ancient songs and listen to strolling musicians. 

Each village celebrates at different times and in different ways but the evenings can be ones of magic as the families sit by the graves, light candles,  and wait for the spirits to return.
Schedule Of Cemetery Visits  
(Link to Schedule)

Day of the Dead Photos

     During the week that leads up to the cemetery visits, the colorful markets load up on marigold, red cockscomb flowers, and many other types of flowers.  The markets stack the shelves with special Day of the Dead bread and create displays that can be a great photo opportunity. (link)
The vendors in the markets live in a tough competitive environment, however, so it is not unreasonable to ask before you make a photo or to offer an inducement before  making your photos.
Most vendors are happy to accommodate you if you buy something from them or offer a ten peso coin.
 Of course you can just point and shoot on the run and still make good photos especially if the area of the market is well lit.
You can make it a better experience and perhaps a better photo, however, if you ask first. By asking you show respect and make a connection. You also have more time to compose and will make better photos.

Abastos Market 
The largest market in Oaxaca City is eight blocks south of the central plaza, the Zocalo. Tons of flowers will be displayed for sale at the end of the month.

Benito Juarez MarketBenito Juarez is one block south of the Zocalo
on Calle (street) Aldama near the San Juan de Dios Church, two blocks south of the Zocalo.   The street between the Benito Juarez Market and the Twenty of November Market will be full of flower sellers.

Photos of Day of the Dead Street Scenes

During the week before the cemetery visits, the people of Oaxaca build and decorate traditional offering tables in their homes. These contain symbolic fruits and produce of ancient indigenous times and the trapping of the virtues and vices of the deceased. The people also create these offerings in the streets and shops of the city.The altars are unique works of art worthy of photos. Just a walk down the Alcala, (link) Oaxaca's pedestrian only street, will reveal many offering tables in shops and hotel and restaurant lobbies that are artistic masterpieces. Along with the altars (offering table or ofrenda) the artists and art students of Oaxaca create sand paintings in the pedestrian-only streets and plazas in a friendly competition.
Meanwhile, Oaxaca's hotels, (link) restaurants and shops decorate their entrances with candles, marigold, and elaborate offering tables.

Best Locations for Day of the Dead Street Scene Photos

A walk south on the pedestrian-only Alcala will reveal many elaborate altars and decorations worthy of a photo. The small plaza beside Oro de Monte Alban on the right side (west) will put on a creative display with the use of their reflective pool. A little further south on the west side the Hosteria de Alcala Restaurant decorates the interior. The upstairs galleries at the Hosteria are worth a look. A block to the east, the Camino Real Hotel decorates their hall and lobby in sumptuous fashion.
Further south on the Alcala, restaurants and shope decorate their entryways.
The restaurant El Sagario decorates their lobby. Half a block south the restaurant below the Marquese del Valle Hotel creates a decoration with modern touches. At the south end of the Zocalo, Oaxaca's main plaza, the Museo de Palacio (link) at times past has decorated with a grand display of Day of the Dead art.
There are many other displays of Oaxacan Day of the Dead art throughout the city.  Every hotel lobby, art gallery, and museum is apt to have an interesting display.

Cemetery Visits
Make Cemetery Photos

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