next photo previous photo
Photo Essay – First Place: Diego Verges

"Ludruk" is an art form that tells stories about daily Javanese life in Indonesia, often focusing on tales of love and friendship. The characters include transvestite men who make up their faces and wear pretty traditional dresses to portray women. Letting real women near the stage was taboo when the Ludruk art form originated a few centuries ago. Nowadays, performers continue Ludruk’s traditions, transporting their stages from one village to another in search of new viewers, keeping the art form alive.

Transvestites in this troupe spent two hours doing their make-up, followed by a show of more than two hours. They earned about US$0.75 -- nothing compared to the US$5.50 they typically spend each month for make-up.