The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos)

The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) was created at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery at the beginning of November 2019. Yearly the Mexican community gathers to assert its essential life energy in a festival of the night - when mysterious entities and unknown phenomena come alive.

Terry Flaxton first came to photography in 1971 and by 1976 had captured many portraits of the abandoned, the discarded in society, and those who seemed to have cast themselves outside its boundaries of their own volition. In 1977 he went to California to record those who suffered this fate on the Western edge in US society. On his return, he deep-tank developed 30 rolls of traditional film stock that had been shot on an Olympus OM10 only to learn that the developer was contaminated, ruining all but one of the films. He abandoned photography at that moment.

42 years later, suddenly in an ecstatic engagement over a two-hour period, he re-engaged with the photographic form. This happened because a series of inner portraits began to reveal themselves as the image formed on the screen; the interior life of each person was first exposed, then manifested. Importantly, all of the people depicted in this series have their faces covered with make-up – as if a covering of their natural form would then allow a reveal of their character that could not occur where the face was seen without make-up – without a masque. The treatment that Flaxton chose in the moment of capture, reveals something that is not easily seen - the interplay between the masque, the exterior construct, and the ephemeral inner world.

The images in The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) were captured on an iPhone Pro 11.


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