Art of Dying Volume One - Page 49

Feature HELMUTH HUMPHREY Dia de los Muertos by Helmuth Humphrey I was raised in Germany surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful churches and cathedrals. I have always felt drawn to religious iconography and ritual, especially in relation to death. Western culture traditionally regards death with sadness. We are told we will reunite with the departed in a distant future, in another world. Dia de los Meurtos, a festival celebrated by the indigenous people of Central and Southern Mexico, affirms a joyous perspective of death. It is their belief that the departed are alive in the realm of Mictlan, waiting for an annual return among the embodied when the veil between worlds is thinnest. The dead, guided to their earthly homes by candlelit paths of marigold flowers, reunite with their families, listen to music, and enjoy their favorite food and drink. Children witness love and respect for the departed. Death is embraced as a friendly aspect of life. This vibrant celebration of the dead’s presence contrasts starkly with our culture’s somber mourning of the dead’s absence. I prefer cascading flowers to flowing tears. HELMUTH HUMPHREY Helmuth Humphrey is a fine art and commercial photographer, filmmaker and world wanderer. His work, spanning locations from Iceland through New Orleans to Oaxaca can be explored at www.helmuthhumphrey.com. HELMUTH HUMPHREY JOHN WADSWORTH PHOTOGRAPHY Death is embraced as a friendly aspect of life. WWW.HELMUTHHUMPHREY.COM HELMUTH@HELMUTHHUMPHREY.COM VOLUME I | 49