with Magdalena Solé & Elizabeth Avedon


Discover the art of social documentary and editing at the iconic Manuel Álvarez Bravo Photo Center in Oaxaca, Mexico


Please join us for a unique photographic workshop, which will cover major topics:


  • Work on an individual Project with daily one-on-one sessions with Magdalena and Elizabeth
  • Learn the art of editing and sequencing through lectures and demonstrations
  • Learn how to create a photobook and prepare for an exhibit
  • Photographing the mystical Day-of-the-Dead rituals with access to the most significant events


Our workshop is surrounded by the excitement of Mexico’s most revered festival, the Day of the Dead. The Day of the Dead is an indigenous tradition, celebrated every year from October 31st to November 2nd. The “Día de Muertos” is an original and photogenic cult known in the world for its grandiosity and mystery but at the same time, for its warmth and intimacy.


It is a life enriching experience to participate in the greatest of all Mexican rituals among a sea of candles, the smell of “Cempazuchil” (Marigold, the flower of the dead) and the stunning street dancers of the Etla valley. Graveyards, where people commune with the dead as well as altar’s in people’s houses will serve as exquisite backdrops to create amazing photographs.




The 2016 edition of the Day of the Dead photo workshop in Oaxaca is a 9-day intensive for committed photographers of various levels.


Conducted by award-winning social documentary photographer Magdalena Solé and world renowned curator and book designer Elizabeth Avedon, this workshop will be a unique combination of one-on-one editing sessions with Magdalena and Elizabeth, shooting your own projects and participating in the Day of the Dead festivities, as well as evening lectures and group discussions in Mexico’s most beautiful city.


Photo Xpeditions has been producing workshops in Oaxaca for the past 8 years, initially for National Geographic Expeditions and then for our beloved Mary Ellen Mark. Continuing the tradition of Mary Ellen’s workshops, we offer individual assignments and access to places that are off the beaten track.




Celebrations, and processions will be present through the entire length of our workshop, however they will reach their peak during the days of October 31 and November 1st, at which times we planned activities that will immerse us in the experience of commemorating the dead.


We will visit graveyards flooded in candlelight where families spend the night with the departed ones eating, drinking, and sometimes the graves are also illuminated by a battery powered TV when a soccer game is shared with the dead.




From October 26th-31st, 2016



On the evening of October 26th gather at a local restaurant for a welcome dinner where all participants will have the opportunity to meet each other as well as your instructors, Magdalena Solé and Elizabeth Avedon.


The next morning, the workshop will begin with a presentation followed by group portfolio review session where the instructors will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each photographer, and discuss the week’s objectives and projects.


The workshop will be a special combination of one-on-one critiques with Elizabeth and Magdalena, shooting your own projects, photographing the Day of the Dead festivities, evening lectures, and group discussions at the beautiful “Manuel Álvarez Bravo Museum”.


Be prepared to work hard, get little sleep, and we guarantee that your leave Oaxaca a much stronger photographer.

October 31st

The Day of the Dead celebrations begin. The afternoon is filled with “Comparsas” lively street parades for the dead, where people dress in elaborate costumes and dance to the rhythms of the bands.


At night we will visit a small and picturesque cemetery, a magical place flooded with the light of thousands of candles, and marigold flowers adorn the graves. Entire families sit by the graves to mourn their departed ones as they await to commune with their spirits.

November 1st

Very early this morning, we depart to a mountaintop cemetery to witness how the elaborately decorated graveyards and their sea of candles mix with the first rays of the early morning light. This is a one-of-a-kind mystical experience that never ceases to amaze everyone. That night we go to a nearby village to experience one of the most impressive, colorful and vibrant “Comparsas” yet.

November 2nd

Today we will hold our final group edit and critique session. Spend the morning looking at the best images of each student as we select the final images and create a sequence for a live exhibit at the Alvarez Bravo Photographic Museum, which will be open to the general public throughout the day and evening.


Our group will meet for a farewell dinner at “Los Danzantes”.

November 3rd




This class is for photographers of intermediate to advanced levels. Applications, if sent separate from the registration, are due no later then 45 days prior to beginning of workshop. Notification of acceptance will be made within 48 hours of registration.




Attendees should bring their portfolio to the class for review. Work prints are preferred over digital. Each student is responsible for bringing their own camera and equipment, including a laptop for digital shooters.


Film shooters must bring their own film and paper (for developing) since film is difficult and expensive to purchase in Oaxaca. Please contact us prior to the workshop, if you plan to shoot analogue.




The workshop starts at 6 pm, the evening of Wednesday, October 26th and ends in the evening of Wednesday, November 2nd. You should plan to depart the morning of November 3rd. Oaxaca, Mexico is served by Aeromexico and Continental Airlines, among other local airlines like Viva Aerobus. Connection through Mexico City, Cancun, Houston, or Atlanta is usually required.



This has been an extraordinary and wonderful photographic experience for me--far surpassing my expectations. I am a better, more confident, and more thoughtful photographer as a direct result of this workshop.

Jim Grover, 2013

Never seen anyone working so hard, having so much fun with what they are doing and making it look effortless, being so passionate about it and going the extra mile at every possibility. You guys put your heart and soul into this week and made every minute wothwhile!! You guys were open to any question -doesn't matter whether it pertained to changing the schedule, giving advice on photography.
What a fantastic experience. Loved it! Never experience a team so committed, working so hard, sharing enthusiasm, experience, thinking ahead, making it look effort less, making sure everything is running smoothly, accomnodating, joyfull, pasionate.

Anja Bruehling, 2012

For more information, please call
1-888-741-3974 or email us at:

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  • Oct 26 – Nov 3, 2016

  • $2,795USD Tuition Only
  • .
    • Mexican residents fee is $2,295 USD.
    • ACCOMMODATION (8 nights):
      We have blocked rooms in some of the hotels mentioned below. Please make reservations directly with them. Be sure to mention you are part of the class.
    Hotel Boutique de la Parra:
    Marla Cruz:
    Marques del Valle Hotel:
    Livia Ramires:

    Both hotels are excellent options and are located in downtown Oaxaca. The Marques del Valle is right at the zocalo and can be a little bit noisy during this time of the year. If you want something smaller, with very personalized attention, and quiet, Hotel Boutique de la Parra is a better option.

    • INCLUDES: Photographic instruction by Magdalena Solé & Elizabeth Avedon and transportation to Day of the Dead scouted locations for photo shooting on Oct 31st and Nov 1st. Does not include accommodations, air transportation, purchases of personal nature or anything not specifically indicated in the itinerary.

Magdalena Sole photographer

MAGDALENA SOLEMagdalena Solé is a social documentary photographer. She is best known for her vibrant and complex color work. Visual language has been her life’s work. In 1989 she founded TransImage, a graphic design studio in New York City. In 2002 she graduated with a Masters of Fine Art in Film from Columbia University. Her last film, “Man On Wire”, on which she was the Unit Production Manager, won an Oscar in 2009.

She has taught in Japan and the Americas. Her projects span the globe. Her current work includes: « Kamagasaki » — a photo documentary on the shunned elderly day laborers of Japan. «Since That Day», an exploration of the aftermath of the Great 2011 Eastern Japan Disaster, and «Hasta Siemple», documenting Cuba at the cross-roads.

Most recently her photographs of the Mississippi Delta have been selected as a PDN Photo Annual 2011 Finalist. Her book «New Delta Rising», published by the University Press of Mississippi, was released in February 2012. It has won the Silver Award in 2011 at PX3 Prix de la Photographie, France. She is also winner of the Silver Prize 2011 at Slow Exposures, Concord, GA. Other shows in 2012 are «Voices from Japan» at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City and IDEA Space Gallery in Colorado Springs, CO, «Dante and the Delta» at Doma Gallery in Charlotte, NC, «The Delta» at WilJax Gallery in Cleveland, MS, «After The Water Receeded» at the Sidney Mishkin Gallery, and «The Delta» at Sous Les Étoiles Gallery in New York City. «The Mississippi Delta» was also exhibited in 2013 at the Leica Gallery in New York City and The Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, FL. Most recent shows include : «Behind the Lens: Women Photographers on Appalachia and The South» at the Slowcumb Galleries in Johnson City, TN, Castell Photography Gallery, Asheville, NC, «Hasta Siempre» at Sous Les Etoiles Gallery, New York City, «The Delta» at the Griffin Museum, Boston, MA, «A Retrospective» at The Soho Leica Store in New York City, «Aftermath» at the Soho Photo Gallery in New York, «After That Day» at Itochu Aoyama Art Square Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, and «Hasta Siempre» at the Vermont Center for Photography in Brattleboro, VT. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Fotostiftung Schweiz Museum in Winterthur, Switzerland, a museum featuring prominent Swiss Photographers.

Born in Spain, raised in Switzerland, she arrived in New York City in 1984, where she lives with her family. She speaks seven languages.

Elizabeth Avedon has received awards and recognition for exhibition design and publishing projects, including the retrospective exhibition and book “Avedon: 1949-1979” for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and “Richard Avedon: In the American West” for the Amon Carter Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, among many others. Avedon was Creative Director for the Gere Foundation, Art Director for Polo Ralph Lauren national advertising, Photo Editor for Magazine, and the former Director of Photo-Eye Gallery-Santa Fe. Portfolio Reviews include the New York Times Lens Review, Center’s Review Santa Fe, Photolucida Critical Mass, FilterPhoto Festival, and SlowExposures, and many others. She curated the exhibitions of Nicholas Vreeland and Magdalena Solé at New York’s Leica Gallery. Elizabeth is an instructor in the Masters in Digital Photography program at The School of Visual Arts and a regular contributor to L’Oeil de la Photographie.

TRIP GALLERY - Day of the dead