In the Mayan lands of Yucatan and Campeche, and in neighbouring Guatemala, one finds the highly colourful and vibrant cemeteries where I made these photographs. The graveyards, reminiscent of tiny fortified villages, are optimistic places where the colours on individual tombs and ossuaries reflect the wishes of the survivors for the journeys the dead must face, each colour carrying its own meanings and hopes. The graves themselves are very often rather old, but the names, dates and colours mostly reflect the most recent interment, and create a deception, for those that look oldest are actually those with the longest time since the last interment which isn’t the same thing at all. Iguanas abound, and the graves carry whatever possessions of the dead and living that will endure the harsh climate and personalise the tombs. In this smiling and intensely colourful environment I’ve photographed openly, with no attempt at secrecy, and never a single word or glance to signify that I might be intruding upon someone’s grief.
Most of the photographs in this gallery are from a visit to Southern Mexico and Guatemala in late 2014 and an exploratory visit to Yucatan in 2007.