Couple of weeks ago, during Mexico’s Day of the Dead weekend I was visiting my two photographer friends – Masha Osipova and Mauricio Palos – in Merida, Yucatán. We decided to play a 24-hour game. The objective was to:
1. Conceive of an idea for a photo-shoot using historically or culturally significant location
We scouted Merida’s incredible abandoned haciendas left over from prosperous days of Yucatan’s henequén cactus production and distribution (read my previous story about Merida’s significance to the peninsula.) Palos said he knew of one huge house that might work in a place called Cholul on the outskirts of the city.
We drove on a whim to check the place out and it was perfect. The shoot took four hours to complete and we switched playing different roles – director, model, production assistant, etc. My idea was to turn Masha into a live altar decorated with marigold flowers picked up in a village on the way to Cholul. We also composed a couple of shots of a jungle-ninja character together. The night before we went to see Gravity. Masha was inspired and threw another challenge in the game – to use an element from the film in her image. Mauricio wanted Masha and I to characterize two ghost-sisters, daughters of a European plantation owner who continue wandering around the hacienda until present day.
Each of us had to choose two-three final images to print. We found a local printer in Merida who was able to accommodate large format.
For the expo we decided to paste our prints on the walls inside the hacienda where we took them (haha, to entertain all the borrachos and drogadictos who may use the house to crash.) At this point in the game I had to return to Tulum for a job, so Masha and Palos promised to complete it without me. A day or two later, my friends organized to make the paste at home, then jumped on Mauricio’s bike and went back to Cholul, taking care of all the remaining business. When the work was finished, they took incredible photos to share with me, which now I’m happy to share with you.
Some image selections from the shoot:
Images of the expo: