Photographer's Note

There is a great tradition in Latin America, "Dia de Los Muertos," the Day of the Dead. It coincides with All Saints Day in the Catholic calendar.

On this day, families pack meals and go to the cemetery. They clean the graves of their ancestors and reminisce. They bring items that would be familiar to the deceased, to help guide and welcome back their souls. They truly believe that the souls of the dead are physically present with them on that day.

Here, a young father paints a memorial for his infant daughter who had died at birth in April 2008 (the dates of birth and death are on the plaque at the top of the memorial) -- two and a half years prior to this foto. At the base of the memorial is a jar of baby food and a teddy bear.

It is tempting to feel great sadness, and there is palpable grief in this scene, but the overall mood of the holiday is celebration -- by remembering the departed, they are still with us.

This was obviously an intense personal moment for this man, still grieving the loss of a child, and I did not want to intrude or interrupt, so this foto was shot from some distance. In cropping the frame for TE, I have tried to bring the image close enough to reveal the intimate details, but retain some sense of distance from his personal meditation in doing this act of reverence. I am uncertain whether I have done so successfully.

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Additional Photos by Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 258 W: 90 N: 498] (2182)
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