I first met Luvia more than ten years ago in Teotitlan del Valle, where she was born and raised and where I have lived since 2005. She was a budding young photographer then who had heart, soul, an artistic eye, creative energy and poor equipment. I invited her to participate at no cost in our 2013 Day of the Dead Photography Workshop in exchange for helping me arrange personal visits into the homes of local artisans. We were focusing on portrait and street photography, so having Luvia’s help was invaluable. Our participants loved Luvia and we raised funds among us to buy her a good Nikon DSLR camera. From there, it was only a matter of time!
In the last week, Vogue magazine published an article about the traje or indigenous garments of the villages represented in the folkloric extravaganza of Oaxaca called Guelaguetza. Luvia did the photography! It is a beautiful rendering of indigenous textiles and their meaning.
And, in March 2022, The New Yorker magazine published a feature about Luvia and her work, highlighting her innovative camera style in a photo essay about the elderly in Teotitlan del Valle — a tribute to her grandmother whom I knew and who helped raise her.
I’m in awe of who she has become and the trajectory of her accomplishments. I met her grandmother, who was frail and elderly, just before she passed. I know and admire her parents who operate a butcher shop in our village and sell at the daily market. They are warm, generous and hard-working people who are supportive of their daughter’s talents.
I took these photos in 2013 and at the time used my wasband’s name, which I changed to Schafer in 2016.
To demonstrate Luvia’s talent and her potential, these are the photos she took in 2013, too.
Note: We have a few spaces open for 2022 Day of the Dead Culture Tour. A perfect time to photography this pre-Hispanic Oaxaca ritual of honoring loved ones who have transitioned to the beyond.