Dia De Los Muertos

WARNING: In this post, things get a little bit real.

dord promo

So, let me just make a long story short here – a couple weeks ago, I started feeling off  like I wasn’t present in life enough. So, I shook myself out of it (with the help of listening to these two albums on repeat daily) and decided that I needed to do something that made me feel passionate and inspired.

And I did! For a while I was working on a few different art projects that actually had nothing to do with photography, and I felt really, really good. And then I realized it was time to start planning Halloween concepts (in the end of August, mind you. I’m insane, I know.) – and that’s where things got super crazy.

I came up with some great concepts revolving around classic Halloween icons – pumpkins, witches, ghosts, devils, Day Of The Dead, etc.. And after planning these concepts, I decided to broaden my photography life and search for models. And they came from the woodworks, let me tell you. I also decided that I would need a face painter (special shout out to Tracy Burke!) – and that’s where it got a little more crazy. I loved the idea of combining face paint and photography so much, it was like “Hey, why not make all the photos Day of The Dead themed?!” And that’s what happened.

So, another long story short, I got amazing models to come and help me out, and for two Saturday’s in a row, we shot until dark. Literally. It was darkity dark dark. I can’t express my gratitude for them, the face painters, and my family. Everyone involved was incredible and inspiring and wonderful. Here’s a collage of all of their beautiful, painted faces.

dotd model collage
The photos are still in the process of being edited and put together – but they look amazing so far. I can’t reveal any until the 19th, but they’re awesome! I wanted to try something different with these photos and I think I was able to do something pretty cool with each of them. Challenging yourself is important in growth and learning, and I learned a lot from doing these photos. Learned a lot with photography stuff, of course, but also a lot of stuff personally.

After reading up on Dia De Los Muertos, the meaning behind it, traditions, public figures in it, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly touched by it. As people, we’re taught to mourn losses of those we love. There’s a quote that I can’t remember now, but it says something along the lines of, “We’re the most selfish species for preserving the life of those that are miserable, then being sad when they’ve found peace.”

Death has never been something I’d particularly struggled with until my family and I had to make the decision to put a pet to sleep. I couldn’t help but only think that we were voluntarily choosing to end a life – regardless if I knew it was for the better. I did find peace knowing that he found peace, but that’s about where it ended.

After really delving into the traditions and beliefs of Day of The Dead, it’s shifted how I feel about loved ones passing away. Naturally, there will be sadness, but there can also be beauty. And more than just being selfish about keeping loved ones around regardless of their pain, but being selfish in general.

As far as we know, we only live one life, and who knows what happens afterwards? Maybe the beliefs of Dia De Los Muertos are true and we continue on in an afterlife full of joy and things that make us happy.  But what we do know is that we’re alive right now, and there’s no use in being miserable, sweating small stuff, or being unkind to anyone.

Before starting this series of photos, I felt much better about how I felt, but now after almost being finished with them, I feel even better. Like someone had hit refresh on my page but it was still loading! Does that analogy make sense? Whatever.

Anyway! Happy October to you all! I can’t wait to reveal these photos. If you happen to live in the Austin area, they’ll be getting revealed on the 18th at Maria’s in Lago Vista! Here’s a flyer with details and information:

dotd celebration flyer
Thank you all for reading, and I hope your day is full of great things and those you love.


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