2011 Photo Contest, Arts and Entertainment, Stories, 2nd prize

The Flying Cholitas, Goddesses of the Ring

Photographer

Daniele Tamagni

23 June, 2010

Freestyle wrestling, or lucha libre, one of the most popular entertainments in Bolivia, was once the domain of men only.

About

Daniele Tamagni

Daniele Tamagni is an Italian photographer, now based in Milan. His background is in art history, but he recently turned to dedicate himself completely to photography. Over the p...

Background story

La Paz, Bolivia
Carmen Rosa walks along the street with Julia la Paceña, her best friend in real life, and her ‘best enemy’ in the ring. Freestyle wrestling, or lucha libre, one of the most popular entertainments in Bolivia, was once the domain of men only. Now cholitas, women wearing the traditional skirts and bowler hats of the indigenous Aymara and Quechua people, are making a mark. The choreographed tussles, part-comic, part-epic struggles between good and evil figures, attract enthusiastic audiences. Some of the women even take on their male counterparts.

Photographer's comment:
"I shot the cholitas in La Paz, Bolivia in 2010. The idea behind this project was to tell stories about three or four fighters, showing them in their daily life, while backstage and fighting. Carmen Rosa, who is 40 years old, is the founder of these women who fight almost every Sunday. She is extremely passionate about fighting and has dedicated years to gain the success she has now. Her motto is 'grace and elegance in free fighting'. I wanted to show the violence, but above all the grace. The traditional aymara dress (multi-layered skirts) have an important role in the process of reaffirmation of their identity as Bolivian and as women."

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/100 s
Focal length
70 mm
F-Stop
f/14
ISO
200

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