Citizen Journalism Trip: Day of the Dead

I had the great honor of traveling to San Miguel de Allande this weekend with my client and photography mentor Cade Martin (who took the featured portrait in this post). We went to shoot the Day of the Dead, or Di de Muertos festival as it is known. What we witnessed was a joyous celebration of life.

Aztec Warrior Pic

We set up a mobile photography studio right in the middle of the city center to capture the very best of the costumes. It was crazy with people teaming around us, and tourist paparazzi taking pictures at every opportunity.


I think when Americans consider the Day of the Dead, we do so with a bit of trepidation. We don’t really understand that it’s not ghoulish faces we are seeing, rather people dressing in costume to embrace the memory of their past ones.


The celebrating transcends face paint with parades, live performances, beautiful alters, marigolds everywhere, fiesta flags, parties, trick or treating, and prayers and services. It’s quite an uplifting experience.

Courtyard Pic

The town itself is just stunning, filled with gorgeous courtyards teaming with vegetation and flowers. It seemed like every block had an open doorway with a courtyard, many with Day of the Dead decorations and alters. The restaurants took the art of the courtyard to the highest levels, too, but many banned photography (boo!).

Church of the Immaculate Conception Light 2-2

The churches throughout the city are prolific with beautiful architecture (see the Catedral de Arcangel below). In some cases, you will find humble interiors, but then the above Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was remarkable.


All in all I hope our photos captured the spirit of the city and event. Cade posted a series of his portraits here on Flickr. You can find mine here. Both of us will update our albums over the next couple of weeks with new pictures.

4 Replies to “Citizen Journalism Trip: Day of the Dead”

  1. Great images, from Cade and you, Geoff.
    Having lived a decade in Spain and having traveled throughout Latin America (and loving San Miguel de Allende!) the Day of the Dead is indeed a paradox. It’s all about appreciating life by savoring the memory of our beloved deceased.
    It’s the human condition, I also believe, that makes for great marketing, messaging and storytelling. Paradox is a powerful tool. Your images tell this story so beautifully!
    Great post, and again, great pics. Thanks!

    1. It is funny how that works. By embracing the past we come to the future. Thanks so much for your kind words and all of the insights on Facebook. Funny how being abroad within your social network behind you helps.

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