Nima Taradji Photography

Lucha Libre
Location: Chicago
Nationality: American
Biography: NIMATARADJI photography +1-312-925-3500 +1-866-701-3686 I am an Iranian-American editorial and documentary photographer based in Chicago, Illinois.  Cultural, social and political themes attract my curiosity. My aim is... read on
Public Story
Lucha Libre
Copyright nima taradji photography 2021
Date of Work 08/10/15 - Ongoing
Updated 07/09/18
In 2015, I started work on a personal project about Mexican Wrestling or Lucha Libre.  This sport is unique in many ways, but most commonly due to the costumed masked individual wrestlers that participate.

Lucha Libre, as it is today, first came into existence in 1933 during the Great Depression when the gap between the rich and the poor was as significant as it is today.  It was a time of deep injustice felt by those of limited means to the benefit of those of seemingly unlimited means.  Lucha Libre bouts exploited the economic uncertainty of the time, while depicting palpable disparities between those who could enjoy opportunity and those who could not. The story of the Lucha Libre is the story about the proletarian struggle for justice.  A justice that, in real life, is often non-existent, but in the world of fantasy happens on a regular basis.  Lucha Libre depicts this struggle unfolding in the ring: the fantastical struggle between the Good (Tecnicos) and the Evil Rudos).  In the ring Evil counterparts are regularly literally beaten by the Good. 

The Tecnicos represent the God-fearing farmers and workers engaged in honest struggle to survive while facing daily assault by those who wield power over them.  Rudos represent the oppressors: factory owners, landowners, managers, politicians, and the law enforcement officers at their service.  Lucha Libre embodies the proletarian struggle for justice: a justice that, in real life, is often non-existent but in the fantastical world of the ring happens on a regular basis. Each match, Lucha, depicts this struggle.

The actual wrestlers (luchadores), in addition to being committed athletes they also commit to secrecy regarding their true identity. The luchadore character is not just a persona assumed in the ring in front of screaming fans – it is a persona that is consistently maintained in all connections with Lucha Libre and, as a result, the masked fighters cannot be photographed without their mask to protect their identity.  

Mexico City is the Mecca of Lucha Libre.  Every Friday night a mostly working class crowd gathers around a ring to watch their favorite luchadores spectacularly prevail over evil in an impressive choreographed fight. Similarly, just outside Chicago, sponsored by Galli Lucha LIbre, a smaller but no less enthusiastic crowd gathers around a ring in Villa Park every Sunday evening.

Note: This is an ongoing project


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