The 2015 Austin Dia de los Muertos Parade

2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas

2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade – Austin, Texas

It was a busy Halloween for me this year, photographically. I went downtown for my 3rd Annual Halloween Portraits on 6th Street where I shot street portraits at night with a flash augmented with post processing — the portraits have sort of a studio feel. And earlier that same day, I was down on the east side shooting a parade in a more typical street photography style. I’ve been enjoying black and white a lot lately. I actually shot both color and monochrome, but for this post, it’s all black and white. Sort of a nod to the roots of street photography.

2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas
2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas

I think the key to these events is to get down there early. I was there at 11am, an hour before the parade started and was rewarded with the opportunity to document behind the scenes. Photographing the parade is fun, but I wanted to capture the candid, atypical views.

2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas

The event has become popular. This is my 3rd time and I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in photographers. Even compared to my last visit, 2 years ago, I noticed more pre-parade onlookers. The thing is, I didn’t want to shoot the same portraits, like most people. I was challenging myself to shoot things the other people weren’t.

2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas
2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas
2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas

I got close and searched for interactions.

2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas

I looked for gestures and patterns.

2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas
2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas

When I did portraits, I wanted them to look more casual

2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas

I also took pictures of the parade, of course. East Austin is changing rapidly with new apartments, gentrifying. Two years ago, I didn’t see any of these hip accommodations. Documenting this parade had the added benefit of documenting a changing east side.

2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas
2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas
2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas

I wasn’t content just shooting from the sidelines. It’s fun but challenging to use a wide-angle and get in close. I would jump in the middle of the action, once in a while, to get these. But I didn’t embed myself in the parade the entire time, since I didn’t want to get in the way of the other onlookers.

2015 Dia de los Muertos Parade - Austin, Texas

Finally, I was on the lookout for interesting people on the sidelines. I asked these sharply dressed women for a portrait and later sent them a copy (both in color and black and white).

After looking at my 2011 and 2013 parade posts, I’ve noticed a some shifts in photographic style but nothing dramatic. Perhaps a few less portraits but I’ve shot mostly candid street photographs. While I’ve changed cameras over the years my style remains intact. Not sure if that’s good or bad, maybe I’ve setted into a look that I like.


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