Mirror, mirror: Mexico City from above. Daniela Rossell’s Ricas y Famosas

Text by Lux Paterson & Henry Rees

“The images depict actual settings. The photographic subjects are representing themselves. Any resemblance [to] real world events is not coincidental”
– Daniela Rossell

Daughter of a member of the PRI, Mexico’s long-ruling party, Daniela Rossell has always had access to the least documented echelon of society in Mexico, the privileged. She photographs wealthy young Mexican women in decadent, overabundant shots. Rossell found it was “easy to photograph people who love to be photographed”, in houses that look like “big-budget sets”.

Some of the women in the posters, however, have been accused of being “poster girls for corruption” – in one untitled photograph from her collection a woman (posing coquettishly inside a skyscraper) is accompanied by the numbers 666, plastered onto the building behind her.

Yet Rossell seems to be more preoccupied with the roles these women keenly adopt, as though they have simply studied lines already written for them. Rossell’s women seem to be as much trophies in gilded cages as beneficiaries of institutionalised corruption, ones who, surrounded by the many objects they own, are complicit in their own objectification. Indeed in Ricas y Famosas, Rossell seems to be questioning the very practice of the documentary photographer in capturing and displaying the lives of others as prizes.

All images courtesy Daniela Rossell

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