Cade Martin Gets Up Close and Very Personal With a Childhood Legend

Cade recently shared with us a story about when he first heard about 2 wolf-boys in Mexico 20+ years ago.  It was one of those visuals that stuck with him and he couldn’t shake it. This past November, he ran into a long time producer friend and for some reason he asked her about what he had heard all those years ago. Guadalupe knew what he was talking about and, via an article in the UK, she found one of them, Jesus Fajardo Aceves, on Facebook of all places.  Cade learned that he was in a small traveling circus, Circus Golden Bross, and (as luck would have it) outside of Tulum for a few days. And he loves Tulum. And the draw to follow – and unpack the truth about – this character that had so captured his imagination was so strong that he packed a bag to find him, on 2 days notice.

He also learned about the condition Aceves has is called hypertrichosis, which is simply an abnormal amount of hair growth over the body. Hypertrichosis runs in families and Aceves’s two daughters have it as well. As is so often true of how people deal with the unknown, Aceves was bullied and gawked at. He sought a “normal” existence outside the circus and sideshow circuit and in 2005 the BBC did a documentary, “It’s Not Easy Being a Wolf Boy” on his efforts to shave and look for employment. Aceves has since returned however to the familiar world of the circus.

On to Tulum.  Where Cade finally met the wolf boy – now a man. And we learned that Jesus Faiardo Aceves  is one of the nicest guys Cade has met, both gentle and shy. He graciously sat for his portrait, which Cade wanted to be a tight portrait to show the architecture of his face, his warm eyes and hint of a smile.  He also wanted to show detail of the hair as it is, not as our imagination might create when we hear “wolf-boy.”

Ultimately making a human connection with the legend was to find character and humanity in the man beyond the stories told late at night by flashlight.

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While photographing Aceves at the circus Cade ended up creating images of a captivating contortionist as well.   Definitely a very inspiring day at the the circus.

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