Malcolm Venville’s Lucha Libre Portraits

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Lucha Loco

collects Malcolm Venville‘s stunning portraits of luchadores, the masked fighters of the Lucha Libre wrestling circuit. Their elaborate outfits and masks range from the kind-of-intimidating to the simply mind-melting, with personas to match. Venville was the child of deaf parents, and became interested in the Luchador masks as a kind of unspoken language. The portraits were made with large-format film in a Mexico City studio and are reproduced in eye-popping color.

The book offers a bilingual and respectful take on the sport, with each portrait clearly identified and paired with a quotation from the wrestler. You can read longer interviews with the wrestlers on the Lucha Loco site, where the burly Dr. Death talks about making love with his mask on and gladiator Maxímo talks about the multi-generational wrestling feud that brought him to the sport.

Click through below to view a selection of our favorite fighters from the book.

“Andy Barrow” © Malcolm Venville from Lucha Loco, Universe, 2010.

“I once ironed my brother’s clothes while he was still wearing them.”

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“Dr. Muerte” © Malcolm Venville from Lucha Loco, Universe, 2010.

“I teach tae kwon do. I’m a black belt. And I’m also in sales.”

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“Maxímo” © Malcolm Venville from Lucha Loco, Universe, 2010.

“My outfit, as you can see, comes from the Roman empire.”

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“Coco Blanco” © Malcolm Venville from Lucha Loco, Universe, 2010.

“The clown name is for the children, but we can fight anyone, anywhere.”

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“Guerrero Azteca” © Malcolm Venville from Lucha Loco, Universe, 2010.

“I can’t tell you my real name. It’s important for us to hide our face and identities.”

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“Black Jaguar” © Malcolm Venville from Lucha Loco, Universe, 2010.

“I’ve watched wrestling since I was ten. My family thought I was crazy to take it up.”