Sunday, February 7, 2010


Laurie Zuckerman traveled to Southern Arizona in January with my new Canon digital SLR to investigate the Hispanic cemeteries and roadside shrines in and around Nogales. On a windy bleak day, I photographed the children's section of this large, clean municipal cemetery. I was surprised to find statues of angels that were so similar to the angels I have documented in the more affluent and ostentatious La Luz Panteon (cemetery) in colonial San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. This weathered blue angel in Nogales doesn't receive the yearly repainting that the angels of San Miguel enjoy.

Being that Nogales is a large border town, similar Mexican-Catholic burial traditions were abundant in this cemetery. I am assuming the angels and monuments are imported from Mexico.

Grundgy stuffed animals were ubiquitous on the graves of the children, along with kitschy new ceramics, both visual trends that are popular throughout the Southwest.

Wrought iron fences, known as cerquitas, adorned several of the wealthier plots. I loved this hot pink fence and hot pink concrete angel. My "favorite" Mexican-style color—Pepto-Bismol pink. My own "In the Pink" altar installation isn't nearly so garish! 

I don't find many angel statues that aren't overly saccharin. This broken blue angel is one of the sweetest and most poignant, lying on the bare earth of this child's grave.

Stay tuned for further photographic installments of my week-long journey through Southern Arizona. I visited much older Hispanic cemeteries in Tubac and at the Tumacacori Mission, plus a great roadside shrine outside of Patagonia.

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