A new telenovela photography project causes controversy over the role they play in Latin American society
In true telenovela fashion… you know you want some of this. Or not.
Here’s a glimpse of telenovelas like you’ve never seen them before.
For almost a decade, artist Stefan Ruiz has taken photographs of up and coming soap stars who work for Televisa, Mexico’s biggest telenovela studio (and minority shareholder of Univision Communications Inc). The result is a project titled ‘The Factory of Dreams’, featuring images of stars such as the very leggy Haydee Navarra from Corazones Al Límite to students from the Centro de Educación Artística (CEA) of Televisa in sexualized (and dare we say borderline-cheesy) poses on beds.
In his website’s description of the project, Ruiz mentioned “a poor beautiful woman” being rescued by “a wealthy prince” and added that this “Cinderella” story is the backbone of Latin American soap operas.
Then came a declarative statement from Ruiz: “Telenovelas and its protagonists are a powerful vehicle to understand contemporary Latin American culture and its society.”
What’s a telenovela without maids? Pictured here are actresses Azucena Preciado Hernández and Claudia Prado Terrazas from Amarte es mi Pecado.
Not everyone is happy about Ruiz’s project and the media coverage surrounding it.
Below a DesignBoom article about the project, reader Claudia M wrote: “Out of context is the fact that any artist considers Mexican soap operas are of any relevance in 2012… they were a big thing back in the 80’s and 90’s, today they have a totally opposite meaning social wise. Ignorance and insensitivity are the reasons why anyone would like this article when Mexico is having a big revolution because of Televisa and all its products including soap operas.”
Martin Parra chimed in: “The concept is disgusting, Televisa and their T.V. dramas are the main brain washing for the masses with their mediocre and bad taste content. This is design?? NOT.”
Haydee Navarra from Corazones Al Límite needs some time to ponder.
Regardless of how you feel about telenovelas, I don’t think they’re going anywhere anytime soon. There will always be over-the-top drama on television, and viewers who love to live vicariously through it because, you know, who wants to deal with their own personal drama? Earlier this year, The New York Times declared Miami the “telenovela Tinseltown,” citing the increase in shows being produced in Miami, Florida, instead of longtime hubs in Venezuela and Mexico.
Yvonne Venegas (Julieta’s twin sister), for example, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for her first solo exhibit and documentary photography book about the stars of the wildly popular telenovela Rebelde. For those who don’t have time to savor telenovelas at night, check out our Ebony Montenegro’s latest (and humorous) Novela Recap of Por Ella Soy Eva. It’s not all roses.