I’ve always wondered about the secret lives of wrestlers, particularly masked luchadores. I love the story of how the legendary free wrestler/actor/folk hero El Santo, was buried with his silver mask at age 66 in 1984, but not before removing his mask for the first time in public on television show a week before. It was his way of bidding his fans farewell.
A new, bilingual book from award-winning British photographer Malcolm Venville, Lucha Loco: The Free Wrestlers of Mexico (Universe, $24.95), delves into this fascinating cultural phenomenon. Venville spent several weeks interviewing and photographing some of the most popular fighters of today in a small portrait studio. Lucha Loco contains 128 portraits of iconic luchadores in full dress, along with short quotes from each fighter encapsulating their adopted personas. Take Enfermero, who states: "My real name is not to be revealed. The magic of free wrestling is the unknown."