Estrellita changing clothes backstage at the circus. Mexico 2006.

The View from Below

“Maybe we could understand that there is space for everyone, and that no one has more rights to citizenship than anyone else.” — Ryszard Kapuscinski

The View from Below is a series of images that interprets the relationship between a group of dwarf men and women in space. The view from below is not the same as that from above; to be different determines one’s relationship with one’s environment as well as one’s conception of it. Being different means a constant fight to earn one’s space, one’s place.

The condition of people with handicaps will always put them at a disadvantage compared with everyone else. In a world in which the concepts of justice and equality often belong to a vocabulary of forgetting, it’s important for documentary photography to approach fundamental themes like respect for difference.

The intention of this project is to provide a sense of otherness, to understand the value and the relationship of space to different identities, with the essential recognition of the feats of adaptation that these people realize in a space organized and imagined for people of conventional height.

The relationship many people have had with little people is not a result of cruelty, but rather of ignorance. To end the social prejudice against these people it’s essential to make known the reality in which they live. Our perception of the world changes depending on the eyes through which we see it.

–Text by Lizeth Arauz Velasco, translation from the Spanish by Sarah Menkedick

Nohemí was born with severe achondroplasia inherited from her parents. When she was about 6 months old, her twin died of respiratory failure. Mexico 2006.

The Authentic Dwarf Bullfighters of Mexico is a bullfighting and musical group that puts on a comedy show in bullfighting arenas in Mexico. Mexico 2006.

The Authentic Dwarf Bullfighters of Mexico prepare to go to the bullring. Mexico 2006.

Nestor is a dwarf man who works as a bullfighter and singer in a band in Mexico. Mexico 2010.

Nestor is a dwarf man who works as a bullfighter and singer in a band in Mexico. Mexico 2006.

The Authentic Dwarf Bullfighters of Mexico put on a comedy and bullfighting show in different places around Mexico. Mexico 2005.

The Authentic Dwarf Bullfighters of Mexico on tour in Mexico.

Mascarita Sagrada is Gerzon’s nickname. He is a professional Lucha Libre Fighter. His work is recognized internationally. Mexico 2008.

Yoyito and Yoyita are an achondroplastic dwarf couple. They have worked in circuses and comedy shows for the last thirty years. Mexico 2006.

Roger, a native of Michoacan, is a bullfighter and auto mechanic. He is highly respected in his community. Mexico 2006.

Estrellita is a Bolivian woman who works at the circus in the city of Santa Cruz. Mexico 2006.

Maribel participates in a group of men and women who have a dwarf strip show. Mexico 2006.

Carmen, Yayo, Victor, Maribel and Memo are a group of male and female dwarves who put on a strip show in different cities. Mexico 2006.

Estrellita changing clothes backstage at the circus. Mexico 2006.

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