Best of Week Day of the Dead Photographs: Sara E. Thomas

Sara, who goes by Liz, is an inveterate traveler, accomplished intermediate-level photographer and fluent Spanish speaker.  While this was her first visit to Oaxaca, Liz, who holds the B.A. in Spanish from the University of Oklahoma, participated in student exchange programs and extensive independent travel in Spain, other parts of Mexico, Central and South America.  She now lives near Cincinnati, Ohio.

Photo 1:  Teotitlan del Valle weaver Pedro Mendoza and his family hosted Liz along with fellow workshop participant Deby Thompson during the November 2 All Souls’ Day observance for Day of the Dead in the village.  Liz and Deby had dinner with the family and went with them to their gravesite at the cemetery.  We embed our participants with families so they better understand and appreciate the local traditions.

Photo 2:  Guiding the dead spirits, by Liz Thomas.

Liz says, “The total immersion was the best part of this program, and the host family experience goes beyond any normal ‘tour’ we could have when visiting Oaxaca.”

Photo 3:  The offering, by Liz Thomas, who says, “I would recommend this program to others, especially if you are interested in weaving, traditions and getting out of daily life at home. Overall excellent itinerary and planning!”


Photo 4: (Left), Omar Chavez Santiago, age 19, at the loom.  Photo 5: (Right), hand-woven, naturally dyed rugs at the home studio of Omar’s family, Chavez Santiago Family Weavers.


Photo 6: (Left), Wool on spindles.  Photo 7: (Right), Mariachi minstrel on Macedonio Alcala during a Day of the Dead comparsa.  Note the spider in the hole of the sound box.

Photo 8:  At the Xoxoxcotlan cemetery Liz captures the magic of the night and the illumination of candlelight on the faces of those sitting vigil waiting for their loved ones to arrive.


Photo 9:  (Left), the folk art pottery of Teodora Blanco‘s son Luis Garcia Blanco from Santa Maria Atzompa.  We went there after a lovely, cool morning walking the archeological site of Monte Alban.  Photo 10: (Right), the Comparsa Girls.

Photo 10: Liz gave us this beautiful shot of Monte Alban, taken from the heights of the north section.  The buildings dating from 100-600 CE are like sculpture against the 9,000 foot mountain backdrop.

Bill [Bamberger] was very accessible, easy-going and accommodating.  He gave me excellent advice on editing and preparing a portfolio,” says Liz.

Photo 11:  I’d call this one Oblivious!  What would you say.  Liz captured Love On The Street perfectly.  Despite the fact that a full comparsa was underway on the street in front of them, this young couple was concentrating on what was most important — each other.  A whole line up of snuggling couples was as interesting as the masquerade parade going by.

Photo 12:  Icon of Oaxaca, the Church of Santo Domingo is an impressive landmark.  Inside, her gold gilded altar and ceiling was the envy of all of Mexico.   You’ve got to get on your knees to get a wide and tall shot like this.  Saludos to Liz for accomplishing that.

Did I tell you that Liz packed two Nikon cameras around her neck so she didn’t have to take the time to change out lenses?

Anyone for Street Photography in Oaxaca starting on January 16?


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