Héroes del Brillo
Hormigón Armado and El Ministerio Ediciones
Bolivia and Uruguay, 2018
Héroes del Brillo, translated as “Shine Heroes,” is a collaboration between Federico Estol and a group of sixty Bolivian shoe shiners associated with the NGO Hormigón Armado. This roughly printed, zine-style publication appropriates the language of the graphic novel to address the stigmatization of this niche labor force. As a result of the discrimination and contempt held for the work they do, the shoe shiners typically wear masks to prevent identification while working the streets of the Bolivian cities of La Paz and El Alto. The publication arose out of a workshop in which Estol and the shoe shiners developed a story line, then produced, shot, and edited the images together. (A portion of the proceeds for book sales goes to support the NGO and its mission.) “It’s a really fun and fresh approach—and more important, it’s ‘photobook as advocacy’ in a very concrete way,” Martin comments.