For the past six years, Stefan Ruiz has gained special access to Mexico's Televisa studios, known as The Factory of Dreams, where nearly fifty thousand hours worth of telenovelas (soap operas) are produced and exported annually to more than one hundred countries.
These intriguing tales of revenge, love, money, and despair are one of Mexico's largest exports, popular throughout Latin America as well as in Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Former Televisa stars turned Hollywood favorites include Salma Hayek and Gael Garcia Bernal.
Rogelio Guerra, who starred in Los Ricos Tambien Lloran ("The Rich Also Cry") a show whose finale was watched by 70 per cent of the population of Russia once delivered the Russian New Year's presidential address when Boris Yeltsin fell ill.
Stefan Ruiz's photographs of the factory and its people reveal a behind-the-scenes look at this special place with humor and affection.
Ruiz's photographs reveal a secret world of elaborate and surreal studio sets, and include portraits of the television stars in character and students being groomed for future celebrity at the Televisa soap school. This is the world of beautiful women, handsome men, and rags-to-riches Cinderella stories, which reveal the underlying fantasies of social aspiration, as well as entrenched racial hierarchies.
Accompanying Ruiz's pictures are informative texts, plot summaries, and bits of dialogue that illuminate both the factory and the dreams behind this fascinating cultural phenomenon.