Day of the Dead photoshoot 2016

l to r: Shelly, Ammy and Fryda in sugar skull makeup from 2016. This was indoors and in the hallway to be specific of an office building.

Every October I get together with my good friend Fryda Fernandez, a Mexican artist of extraordinary talent to collaborate on a El Dia De Los Muertos “Day of the Dead” theme photoshoot.

Many folks especially not familiar with Southern California and Mexico wrongly assume it’s a “Mexican” version of Halloween celebration.

Fryda Fernandez, the creative force behind this annual photoshoot comes up with the most elaborate of makeup designs.

The only thing these two festivities have in common is how close together they are. Halloween is Celtic and the Day of the Dead is Mexican. Celebrants of the Day of the Dead remember their departed family and friends. Halloween… well, is a free-for-all and anyone can dress up as anything. Some folks just like the idea of scaring people so the more morbid their costumes, the better.

This is Shelly. Styling and makeup by Fryda.The hairbands are also Fryda’s creations.
A basic clam shell type lighting was all the room I had in this very narrow hallway. Mouse over the image to see where my lights were.

Over the years, I’ve partnered with Fryda to see what we can come up with. Her creations, the elegant sugar skull makeup have always been different. Because she is an artists, I can see how much work and time she devotes to these.  She recruits the models and I show up with my camera and lights and we see what we come up with. Most of the time, our results surprise us.

Three Catrinas–Shelly, Fryda and Ammy in the narrow hallway

Last year,  we were indoors in the common area of an office building. So that mean we were in a narrow hallway and a stairway.  Being indoors is very much like being in a studio. Because of the confined space, I couldn’t get back far to throw backgrounds out of focus.

If you have any questions or comments about this, do let me know via comments below.

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Next: what we tried this year 2017.

Peter Phun Photography

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