A Visitor to Ireland Finds Ballet in the Ancient Sport of Hurling

In a new book, “People of the Mud,” the photographer Luis Alberto Rodriguez creates a choreography of bodies at work and at play.

On a stretch of stony earth, in front of a patchwork wall of brick and cinder block, three young men are down on their elbows and knees, with heads in hands. They’re wearing pristine sportswear: shirts in the same team colors but mismatched footwear and shorts. Also, the teammates are stacked one on top of the other, in a monument built of trembling muscle and bruised flesh. The boys’ faces are hidden, but you might recognize one of them from the sockless Adidas sneakers he’s wearing here and in another photograph. That other image shows him and three more athletes, each with his feet on the ground and body flung backward, head on his neighbor’s knees, making a human platform at coffee-table height. It’s as if the subjects of August Sander’s “Young Farmers” (1925-27) had thrown away their cigarettes and taken up—what? Choreography? Contortionism? Performance art?