Oct. 29 to Nov. 3, 2019 - Day of the Dead, Oaxaca


Oct. 29 to Nov. 3, 2019 - Day of the Dead, Oaxaca


Day of the Dead - Oaxaca

October 29 to November 3, 2019

$1000. / person, limited to six people

One of the most magical times to visit Mexico, and Oaxaca in particular, is at the end of October and into early November to take in the vast celebrations of Dia de Muertos, when Mexicans gather to celebrate the lives and memories of loved ones who have died. 

Taught by SEEK founder and New York Times contributor Andrew Sullivan, who has led workshops in New York City, Mexico, and Guatemala since 2008, this will be a fun and fascinating workshop, with lots of time spent photographing on location, followed by in-depth critiques of student work. Assisting Andrew in the course is Romina Hierro, a photographer from Oaxaca who has photographed six books, including one about the life and work of reknowned Oaxacan artist Francisco Toledo.

This is a workshop, and in addition to our group activities, you will be expected to explore on your own, photographing and creating the story of your experience. We provide transportation, local knowledge, teaching, and critical expertise, but you must provide your own creativity. You don't need to be an expert photographer, but a basic understanding of your camera and exposure will enable you to make the most of your time on the ground in the very dynamic environment of Oaxaca. Have no fear, we run friendly workshops intended to help you develop your photographic skills within lyrical documentary and street photography. Andrew and Romina will be with you each day to help with any struggles, whether they be cultural or language issues, or technical, artistic or theoretical aspects of the photography of daily life.

The most important aspect of this workshop is to enjoy it and to make some good photographs.

Tuesday, October 29

We'll gather for drinks and snacks to get to know one another and to go over plans for the workshop.

Wednesday, October 30

We'll see the delivery of truckloads of Aztec marigolds, called "flores de cempazuchitl" in the indigenous Nahuatl language, as they arrive in the teeming markets of Oaxaca - Benito Juarez, 20 de Noviembre, and Central de Abastos. The flowers, bursting in orange and magenta, arrive from the countryside for use in altars families assemble at home and in cemeteries.

After photographing in the morning, we'll break for lunch, download images, and begin editing and individual critiques.

In the late afternoon and evening, we'll photograph a "comparsa," a musical parade through the city in which the revelers dress in costumes and elaborate skull make-up.

Thursday, October 31

In the morning, we'll travel outside of Oaxaca city to visit the market town of Zaachila, where preparations will be underway as the townspeople rush to the market to buy flowers, sugar skulls, and countless other items to decorate the graves of their loved ones.

After several hours photographing in Zaachila, we'll return to Oaxaca for lunch, editing, and critiques.

We'll have some free time to rest before a late night in the cemeteries of Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán and Atzompa, two towns on the periphery of Oaxaca, each with distinct traditions and rituals. We'll be working graveside by candlelight, meeting families, and making interesting pictures of a beautiful tradition.

Friday, November 1

After a good night's rest, we'll visit a family home in Oaxaca to see the intricate altar they will have created to honor their loved ones. In the afternoon, we'll edit and critique work again before heading back into the night to photograph. We'll visit the Panteon General in Oaxaca City and see various comparsas in the neighborhoods we walk through, including the quaint and beautifully preserved barrio of Jalatlaco, on the edge of centro. We'll cross town to visit the neighborhood of Xochimilco and its local cemetery as well.

We'll stop for coffee and hot chocolate to energize ourselves for the night, which will include a brief drive to San Agustin Etla to photograph the Muerteada, the surreal parade of the dead, which is akin to a trip to the underworld itself. Demons of every imaginable type, ghosts, diablos and perhaps a few angels as well will dance before your camera. It's an experience not to be missed for any lover of street photography or Mexican culture.

Saturday, November 2

We'll have a free morning to rest up again before editing at mid-day and then traveling to the villages of Teotitlan del Valle and the archaeological site Mitla, the mythological city of the dead, to cap off a fascinating cultural experience that will bring you incredible photographs and perhaps a sense of life-affirming inspiration.

Sunday, November 3

We'll have another critique in the late morning, followed by our final audio slideshow and farewell fiesta in the late afternoon.

What's Included

-All instruction

-Ground transportation to our locations during the workshop

-Snacks and drinks during our welcoming night and our farewell fiesta

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