Earlier this month, I visited the mission district in San Francisco to photograph the Day of the Dead celebrations. It was after a gap of nine years that I went to photograph this tradition also called ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ and was very surprised to see the overflowing crowd at the Garfield park this year. This event seems to have become very popular by leaps and bounds.
I have uploaded some more photos in my photo archive that might interest you: Dia De Los Muertos, Mission District, San Francisco
The following are my first impressions after attending the Dia De Los Muertos in San Francisco nine years back…
The sky weeps as a light rain falls. Human spirits, faces painted in white, eyes adorned with black circles, walk somberly. The light from the candles that the hands hold, is casting an eerie light on the face. Dead people are walking; dead in illusion but their spirits are alive. Death being a mere illusion for the living spirits. Altars have sprung up everywhere. Altars for the departed souls replete with food for the them, their favorite wines and food. Photos of the ones watching from above, adorn the altars as the living seek harmony with the dead.
A few hundred candles burn, lighting up the dark. A painted skeleton peeps into the mirror only to find itself staring back. A stark reminder of the image we might be, when the spirit leaves for the world beyond. I am drawn to the candles, slowly giving their life away to illuminate the world around. A little girl stands. holding a red candle, fascinated by the candle and the glow emanating from it.
I feel hesitant, unsure whether capturing these moments would mean intruding into the private rememberances. As I look through the lens, I feel one with the spirits, dead and alive. It’s another day, a celebration of being alive…
If it interests you, you may see some of those old photos from Day of the Dead
I hope I get to see the dancing calaveras next year again.