Mike Chowla

Day of the Dead 2008 - San Francisco

I didn't know quite what to expect from Día de los Muertos in San Francisco. The images I've seen have always fascinated me but most of those were from Mexico or other Latin American countries. The celebration in San Francisco was not something I heard about but rather something I sought out because I thought it would be fun to photograph.

I knew there would be a procession but didn't realize I'd get swept up into it. Walking along with the procession really gave me the feeling of being part of the event rather than a spectator. Many of the participants have painted their faces as you can see in the pictures. There was a marvelous energy about the procession.

The alters are at the end of procession. The energy of crowd shifted abruptly once the procession was finished. The mood turned sober as people lighted candles to remember their loved ones. I found the shift rather jarring because I didn't expect it.