Day of the Dead
Día de Muertos
12 x 9, 116 pp.
65 color photos., 28 b&w photos., 1 map., Suggested readings.
Pub Date: 08/23/2007
Price:        $39.95


Published by Texas Christian University Press

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Day of the Dead

Día de Muertos

By Denis Defibaugh

The people of Oaxaca, Mexico, believe the souls of the dead, the antepasados, return every year for a twenty-four-hour visit. They are welcomed into their former homes with gaily decorated altars and offerings of food and gifts. Then they are escorted back to their resting places in the cemeteries. In recent years, Dia de los Muertos has become widely known not only throughout Mexico but also in the United States, drawing tourists in large numbers.

Since 1993, photographer Denis Defibaugh and author Ward Albro have visited the festivals, both in Oaxaca City and in the smaller villages, where customs marking this passage have evolved over generations. They have been welcomed into people’s homes and have taken part in the public festivals. In this beautiful book, Defibaugh’s photography catches the essence of the people and their celebration, while Albro’s text supplies background understanding of the beliefs and practices of the observance.

The Day of the Dead book expresses the joy, sorrow, and ritual of the many public celebrations of the festival. Defibaugh’s quiet, subtle perceptions distinguish his photographic vision. His approach is to perceive, compose, and capture all the visual elements and fit the analogous body language and facial expressions into his images. Albro’s illuminating personal essay introduces the Muertos culture of the people of Oaxaca.

Denis Defibaugh is professor of photography in the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences. His work Family Ties do not Die, The Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico has produced three solo exhibitions in Texas and numerous shows in San Francisco, Miami, Rochester, Buffalo, and Montana. His documentary and travel photographs earned a Fulbright Travel/Study Grant to Mexico in 1993.

Ward Albro is professor emeritus at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and founder of Tierra del Sol: Mexico Programs and Services, which organizes historical-cultural tours of Mexico. He lives in Castroville, Texas, and teaches at the University of Texas-San Antonio and the Texas A&M System Center-San Antonio.


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