WORKSHOPS & ADVENTURES: Day of the Dead - OAXACA, Mexico

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Day of the Dead - Oaxaca - with Juliette Mills 

27th October - 4th November  

This is an 7 day photography adventure and workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico, during the spectacular Day of the Dead celebrations. Photography-based, with visits to artists’ workshops, mask-makers and archaeological sites of interest, this is a group workshop of like-minded people and will be a trip of a lifetime. 

Time to get immersed with your camera in the rich and colourful traditions of Mexico’s Day of the Dead, under the guidance of Spanish-speaking photographer Juliette Mills. This is a celebration of ancestors and lost loved ones, and a huge street party full of the splendour of traditional costume, masks, flowers, incense, and music-making.  

We will arrive as locals are preparing for the arrival of the ‘visiting dead’, with traditional foods being prepared, such as ‘mole negro’ and ‘pan de yema', town squares being laid out with flowers, decorations, and sand tapestries. Families come together and build private altars in their homes and on grave stones, with the deceased's favourite things, and bring feasts to the cemeteries as they gather around the graves to celebrate and be with the souls of the departed. These souls, they believe, will come back and take part in the festivities.  

This is possibly the most important date of the year for Mexicans, when they go to huge efforts to remember, celebrate and honour deceased loved ones. It is a tradition dating back to pre-hispanic times and is as strong as ever in family life. In 2008, UNESCO recognized the importance of Día de los Muertos by adding the holiday to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  

It is hard not to be moved by the rituals that take place at this time, so full of symbolic meaning, routed in lost loved ones. Though now fused with Catholicism, this is a vibrant reaffirmation of indigenous life, of family tradition, of Mexican identity - an honour to experience.  

TESTIMONIALS 

" A truly unforgettable experience with Juliette as a highly talented, amiable and inspiring mentor!! I am profoundly grateful and very much looking forward to the next trip!” Lise Leino, England 

"It was a perfect mix of holiday and photography. Enjoyed our evenings at the restaurant where we would talk about our day over a few beers as well as getting feed back from Juliette on our progress and how to go forward. What started as an adventure turned into a great and memorable experience with Juliette being an amazing linker and teacher. Not only have I gained a few new friends, I feel I am a much better photographer!” Majid Algouneh, Thailand 

 

ITINERARY 

Sat 27th OCTOBER - Arrive, settle into hotel and meet for drinks, dinner and orientation. 

Sunday 28th - Breakfast and introductory lecture (camera settings and composition). 11am Set off for Tlacolula de Matamoros, a 30 minute car journey, to explore the magnificent market. And visit the 16th Century church. Photograph the locals buying and selling on the bustling last Sunday market before the Day of the Dead celebrations.  

Monday 29th - Info/Lecture, discuss managing low light, movement and flash. Rule: No rules. Afternoon - Oaxaca - Santo Domingo square - Church & Convent (houses museum of Oaxaca Culture). El Zocalo - main square, the cathedral and markets.  

Tuesday 30th - Morning critique, lecture: ’Visual Storytelling’. Visit to rural villages (weavers, artists, archaelogical sites of interest.) Late afternoon: Santo Domingo Museum and church - Comparsas, Evening: Dance show.  

Wednesday 31st - Oaxaca - market in morning. Santo Domingo museum and church - comparsas. Children’s parade, flower market in Oaxaca town. Xoxocotlan cemetery at night. The procession of the souls begins with the children parading.  

Thursday 1st - Oaxaca - children's parades and altars, various locations aroudn the town. Free time photographing. Evening: Depart for neighbouring village (cemeteries & comparsas).  

Friday 2nd - DIA DE LOS MUERTOS - Various cemetaries for the main celebrations, evening depart for a neighbouring village (cemeteries & omparsas).  

Sat 3rd Morning: Edit and prepare final selection for show. After lunch - depart for San Antonio and photograph the special flower competition in the cemetery. Evening - final show & farewell dinner.  

Additional Notes: The framework of this trip is flexible, allowing for me to make the best of our time based on changing events, parades, fiestas and ‘comparsas’. 

'Comparsa' - theatrical satirical parades with gruesome masks and flamboyant costume, that can spring up seemingly out of the nowhere on a day-by-day basis. The villages outside Oaxaca are renowned for these.  

INSTAGRAM & FINAL SHOW: This workshop will be working towards a final show of each student’s work on our last night. Each day we will edit and critique our work together, selecting one image each to go up onto the group’s Instagram page and short-list work for our show.  

ADD-ONS/EXTRAS: Mask-making workshop by specialist local makers. 1 - 3 day courses available on request. Visits to artisanal textile makers.  

Maximum group size: 7 people 

 

Cost: £2400 

What's included: 8 nights 4 star hotel accommodation in Oaxaca (based on double occupancy), transport & driver for all excursions, daily tuition.  

What's not included: 

Flights, airport transfers, visas if required, entrance fees/tourist sites, meals & drinks.  

Does not include special add-ons i.e. Mask-making workshop. 

For further info please email: 

jm@juliettemills.com