Capture the rich cultural ceremonies on display during Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)—a special festival traditionally observed in Mexico that encompasses Halloween, Día de los Niños, and All Souls Day. We will immerse in all aspects of the celebration spanning from the elaborate preparations into the rich festivities.
Over the course of this annual celebration, we witness remembrances and joyful commemoration as families and friends gather to honor the return of souls of the departed. We watch as wild marigolds are gathered, candles poured and sugar skulls created for display in homes and public spaces to be part of the richly decorated ornate ofrendas (altars). Costumed children and revelers with painted faces watch join in parades and a spirit of remembrance takes over the city.
As photographers chronicling these sacred events, we seek always to connect, moving slowly and honoring the traditions of the region. From our base in San Miguel de Allende, we respectfully visit nearby cemeteries where we find decorated grave sites, roaming mariachi bands, and families brought together for memorial picnics. In addition to spending full days taking advantage of photographic opportunities, we also engage in critique sessions, during which Jennifer and Michael provides valuable feedback and instruction.
By the end of our Día de los Muertos Workshop you’ll have a wealth of meaningful images documenting the people, places, colors, and customs of an unforgettable Mexican celebration.
Participants need to be technically self-sufficient, as this is not a workshop to learn how to use your gear or editing software. Participants must be able to download, select, and transfer images to their own jump drive for class each day.
Jennifer Spelman is a documentary photographer and member of the Jibaro Photos Collective. She is co-publisher of CubaSeen, a quarterly magazine showcasing photography and writing about Cuba.
Jennifer received her photographic training as an assistant with Santa Fe Workshops, working with some of today’s most preeminent photographers: Jay Maisel, Norman Mauskopf, and Joe McNally.
A sensitive photographer of people, Jennifer strives to create portraits with energy and insight. She is most at home on the streets of Havana and has worked with Santa Fe Workshops across Cuba since 2011. Jennifer is a patient educator who has co- instructed with National Geographic Expeditions and taught workshops in Romania, India, Mexico, Japan, in addition to Cuba.
A popular workshop instructor, Jennifer is also part of our Mentorship Program »
Michael Amici is an internationally award-winning photojournalist with an eye for capturing unique and inspiring moments. As a distinctive voice in the world of documentary and event photography, his desire to distill the best from the most ordinary circumstances defines him as not just a photographer, but an artist with a belief in limitless possibilities. Here he finds darkness in light and brilliance in a world often shaded by intolerance and measures the distance we keep from ourselves and allows us entrance into what it takes to persevere.
From Smithsonian Magazine to Facebook, to the wedding planning website The Knot, his clients are as diverse and inspiring as his photos.
Michael is based in San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico; he travels around the globe for photo assignments.