The Grisly Spectacle of Lucha Libre Extrema

Photos from the underground Mexican wrestling scene

assignment for a Mexican magazine, photographer Annick Donkers found herself angling for an invitation to a particular car wash outside of Mexico City. On some nights, this car wash transforms into a venue for the hardcore wrestling style called Lucha Libre Extrema. Illegal in the city for its brutality — Annick told me there are “basically no rules” — it’s difficult for journalists and outsiders to get invited. Once inside, she had to protect her camera for fear that it might get shattered when she approached for close shots of the wrestlers. Intrigued by the appeal this extreme sport holds for spectators, which include women and children, Annick says her work aims to observe but not judge. For Polarr, we spoke about the project.