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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Thirty One: Interpreting cultural festivals -- Mexico’s Day of the Dead > Day of The Dead Altar, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2005
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Day of The Dead Altar, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2005

At the city's cultural center, we found a number of students building Day of The Dead altars. The students decorate them with items they believe are beautiful and attractive to the souls of the departed. I took an overhead vantage point to abstract the students and stress the colors of the overall altar. This altar is a work in progress – it eventually will be covered with candles, food, skulls, and various objects representing the interests of the deceased. The abstracted students seem contemplative – they sit in a row, rhythmically repeating the role of floral tributes and candles that are arrayed on a wall just behind them. The late afternoon light adds symbolic warmth to the vivid colors, and provides dappled shadows, creating a quiet, thoughtful mood.

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1/250s f/5.6 at 12.5mm iso80 full exif

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Phil Douglis08-Dec-2005 17:48
Thanks, Jen. I am glad you appreciate the idea created by my overhead vantage point. It was the only vantage point from where we can appreciate the complexity of the altar, and in the process, it gives the viewer the same view as "the departed ones" looking down from on high, would see. Fortunately, there was a balcony running the length of the cultural center just above the students working at ground level. Without it, there could be no picture such as this. When I am shooting, I am always looking for a variety of vantage points to stress my ideas. This image could just as well be an important part of my vantage point gallery at
Jennifer Zhou08-Dec-2005 09:12
I love the light, mood and everything in this picture, particularly your overhead vantage point, it is like those departed ones are just looking down from heaven.
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