As I’ve written about in several previous posts, last October/November I traveled down to Oaxaca, Mexico, with Within the Frame to photograph the Day of the Dead festival. Festivals typically involve a number of relatively short periods of frivolity and excitement interspersed with long periods of nothing much happening. For our group, a good portion of this down time was spent simply walking around, alone or as small groups, exploring and photographing backstreets and neighborhoods of Oaxaca and nearby communities (not to mention plenty of eating and drinking). Festival pictures are often fun and dramatic, full of color and movement with people dancing and revelers in fantastic costume. There’s certainly nothing wrong with photographs of this but as images that are representative of a place, they can be a bit misleading. Festivals are only a very small part of a culture or a place. That’s why, for me, it’s the images of everyday life in a community that are often more interesting and compelling.
Tag Archives: festival
In my previous post, I briefly mentioned some of the visual contrasts surrounding the Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) in Oaxaca, Mexico; how what one might generally consider to be a rather solemn occasion can also contain so much good-natured fun and frivolity. One of the best examples of this contrast was at the Panteon General, a large cemetery and mausoleum dramatically lit by thousands of candles set in wall niches, outside of which a small carnival was set up with food stalls, games, and kiddie rides. It’s probably safe to assume that a certain amount of gayety has always been a part of Dia de Los Muertos but, like many cultural events around the world, commercialism has begun to creep in. Still, it does make for some fun photos.
Speaking of commercialism of holidays, the Christmas shopping season is now upon us. How about giving the gift of photography this year? My 2014 wall calendar The Nature of the Abstract would make a fine gift for family and friends.
I have a short article and a few images published in the current edition of South East Asia Backpacker magazine. The article is on the Thaipusam Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can read the current issue online here: http://issuu.com/southeastasiabackpacker/docs/magazine_issue22
(Hint: I start on page 14.)
It’s interesting how this magazine stuff works. I intended it to be more of a photo essay with just a short story to provide some background information. I submitted 18 images to go with the story. They ended up using only a couple of them, and not necessarily the ones I feel are the strongest images. I guess it comes down to the space available and how the magazine is laid out. I haven’t read the article in the magazine yet, either. I’ve been afraid to see how much they may have edited it, or even worse, maybe not edited it at all.
I posted a teaser image a few months back, but I’m posting the rest of the images now that didn’t get published. You’ll have to go to the magazine link above to see the published ones and read the article.
This is from the Thaipusam Festival at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the festival, tens of thousands of devotees of the Hindu faith come to pay homage to Lord Murugan. Prior to climbing 272 steps up to the Temple Caves, the worshipers will wash themselves near the Sungei Batu (Rocky River). The festival is known for the devotees who pierce themselves with skewers and fish hooks as acts of penance.
Later this year I am scheduled to have a photo essay on the Thaipusam Festival published in SE Asia Backpacker magazine.
This past Sunday Seattle held its annual Gay Pride Parade and festival. There was the usual Dykes on Bikes leading the way with their big, vibrating machines, drag queens, flamboyant costumes with an abundance of skin, and a few whose only costume was a bit of body paint. Crowds of people lined the streets as the parade made its way to Seattle Center where the brave ones stripped to their underwear and frolicked in the fountain. Those less inclined, hung out on the grass or danced to the music from one of the two stages, and generally just enjoying the company of friends and the nice weather.
Here’s a few photos of some of the people who were participating and enjoying the day. The weather was beautiful, although the bright sunlight made for some harsh lighting at times. If you enjoy these, I have a few more in a gallery here that you might want to check out.