Taken in Barrio de Jalatlaco, Oaxaca, Mexico, this series of images depict La Catrina who is an immortal icon for Dia de los Muertos. La Catrina came about via a famous Mexican illustrator, Jose Guadelupe Posada, who would create satirical illustrations depicting the times. The meaning behind his Calavera work was that we are all the same and will all end up dead eventually and turned into skulls. The original sketch came about in 1910 and was a satirical reference to the obsession of Europeans with Porfirio Diaz. He was extremely corrupt, and this lead to the Mexican Revolution of 1911 which toppled his regime. Diego Rivera later turned this work into a mural in Mexico City.
In today’s times, during Dia de los Muertos, many people, men, women, and children, dress up with elaborate skulls painted on their faces, and the women will often dress in elaborate dresses to depict Catrina. It’s a reminder that death should be celebrated and not feared.
Leslie Spurlock is a photojournalist, storm chaser, and creative portrait artist. She lived with the rebels in Haiti for 3 weeks when they ousted President Aristide, photographed Tropical Storm Jeanne that killed 3000 people in Haiti, covered many hurricanes and natural disasters, and 17 protests across the US during 2020. Her work has been published in many publications including Time, Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, NY Post, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Miami Herald, Austin American Statesman, Daily Mail, ABC, CNN, and Yahoo.