In his book The Factory of Dreams (Aperture), photographer Stefan Ruiz goes inside the Mexico City television studio where many of the country’s cultishly popular telenovelas are filmed. Since 2003, Ruiz has spent time on set, documenting the classic archetypes—young lovers, the kindly patriarch, the long-suffering maid—and the actors who have populated such sappy soap operas as Loving You Is My Sin and The Rich Also Cry. While the shows’ devout fans have a hard time parsing fact from fiction, Ruiz deftly expands the frame to give us a crew’s-eye view of the proceedings: gaffers’ ladders lean against half-built sets, a chandelier hangs amid production lights, actors loll about between takes (like Daniel Cortés, left). Such workaday details, Ruiz implies, are the stuff these dreams are built on.

Photos: Daniel Cortes, CEA, Televisa Acting School, 2004 from The Factory of Dreams: Inside Televisa Studios (Aperture 2012) © Stefan Ruiz