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Héroes Del Brillo - Federico Estol


Héroes del brillo is a publication that pays homage to the culture of the shoeshine boys in the streets of La Paz. Breaking the boundaries of documentary and fiction, Federico Estol shows one of the most curious phenomena of popular culture in Bolivia, the existence of an urban tribe that uses disguises, mirrors and staging to defy the harsh reality of their daily chore, walking the streets in search of customers with shoes to shine.

This is the story he tells us: “there are about three thousand shoeshine boys who daily take to the streets of La Paz and the city of El Alto in search of customers. They come in all ages and in recent years have become a unique social phenomenon in the Bolivian capital. What characterizes this urban tribe is the use of ski masks so as not to be recognized by the people around them. The discrimination they face is confronted with these masks. In their neighborhood they do not know that they are engaged in this task, at school they hide it and even their own families believe that they have a different occupation when they go down from El Alto to the center of the city.

The mask is their strongest identity, which makes them invisible at the same time that it unites them. This collective anonymity makes them strong in front of the rest of society and is their resistance against the exclusion they suffer for doing this work.

For three years I collaborated with the sixty shoeshine boys who are part of the NGO “Hormigón Armado”, planning the scenes in participative workshops of graphic storytelling, incorporating the local elements of the urbanity of El Alto and carrying out photographic sessions where they are the co-authors of a street photobook to fight against social discrimination. I was a witness and I could say that there are shoes that dazzle just by looking at them, this is due to the super powers of the shoeshine family that inhabit La Paz, the real heroes of shine”.

Co-edited by the street newspaper Hormigón Armado and El Ministerio Ediciones in 2018 this publication circulates in the urban tribe and has given greater visibility to their work. The [publisher’s] proceeds from the sale of the books go to feed this group of tireless workers. -Fiebre Photobook

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Second Edition / 2021
ISBN: 9789974857414
Details: Softcover, 13 x 9 inches

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