The 3000 shoe shiners of suburban La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia, have become a social phenomenon in recent years. They confront such discrimination that they are now characterised by the ski masks they wear to hide their identity.
In their neighbourhoods, no one knows that they work as shoe shiners. They hide their work from school and even from their own families, who believe they have a different job when they head down to the city centre.
The masks provide collective anonymity, making the group both invisible and united.
The photographer collaborated with sixty shoe shiners associated with the NGO Hormigón Armado to produce this project.
This exhibition is outdoors. Please check what COVID-19 restrictions are in place before you visit.
Uruguayan photographer, Federico Estol, graduated from the Image and Multimedia Technology Centre of the Polytechnic University of Cataluña (BarcelonaTech). Federico is currently the artistic director of San José Foto promoting the Photobook Club Montevideo and editor of El Ministerio Ediciones publishing house. He has been nominated for Prix Pictet, the Paris Photo–Aperture Photobook Award 2019 and the Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography 2020, and was awarded numerous prizes, including the Discovery Award at Encontros da Imagem Portugal 2019.
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