Featured Photographer – Tara Mapes

1. Tell us a bit about the image?

These images depict the Mexican holiday where they celebrate and remember their loved ones who have passed and welcome back the souls of the dead. A family reunion, you might say. My husband and I airbrushed the base of the makeup and then I hand-painted the faces and painted bones on the arms, hands, and chest. I also painted the guitar to add color and help separate the prop from the black of the clothes. For styling, I wanted to allow the faces to be the main source of color, so I chose red and black to play with the reds of the face makeup while allowing it to take a backseat to the colorful face makeup and expression. For background, I wanted a monochromatic background that would help make the colors pop as well–I knew a green forest would not only complement the red but allow the blacks of the clothing to help the couple pop.

2. What inspired you to take the shot?

The Mexican holiday Dia de Muertos, a celebration, reunion, and remembrance of loved ones who have passed inspired this shot.

3. What gear did you use for the shot including lighting?

I shot these with a Nikon D850, 85mm, and Godox AD400 with a 47-inch umbrella.

4. Tell us about the editing process?

Because Dia de Muertos is a colorful holiday, I wanted to bring a bold palette of colors to the forefront. I knew I’d have a vibrant red take center stage with a complement of green and cyan blue. In order to not overwhelm the eye, I wanted all shades of each tone to be the same. I started by adjusting all shades of red to the same red-orange so there was a harmony of the loudest color. Next, I worked on lush greens pushing greens more toward green than yellow and then adding vibrance to the blues. I then softened the background blacks with curves so the main blacks could pop with more contrast. I feel like the result was a harmonious balance of color and contrast that brings the ‘dead’ couple to ‘life’.

5. How does this piece reflect you as an artist?

As an artist who chases childhood, I recall joy like the smell of rain on hot asphalt. Dia de Muertos reminds me of that feeling. A celebration of life, hope, and eternal happiness. It is colorful, it is fun, it is promising. These are the shots that keep my inner child alive.

Social Media

Website https://store.taramapes.com/

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