Life and Labor


My favorite photographs are those of people at work. My portraits have some value. However, photographs which depict work activity show us more of the Maya lifestyle than do simple posed shots. Also, photographs of people working give us glimpses of the physical environment within which people work and live. For example in previous chapters I showed you photos of families harvesting, women washing or weaving, and mothers breast-feeding their babies.

Here I present photographs of other classes of work, however. For example, there are women and children carrying water, a woman washing dishes, and a horse carrying loose hay. Likewise, one man carries corn stalks and, in another, photo, leads his cow down the street. Similarly, three sisters cook ceremonial food for a festival, while another woman makes tortillas for her family’s meal.

Women´s Work

I have already said that my photographs are largely female-centered. . This may be especially true of my photos of work.Not to say that Maya men of the highlands don´t work hard, however, just that Maya women work harder. Nowadays, a Maya woman not only raises the children and attends to the domestic duties of the household, but she very often has to join the workforce or labor in the fields. Therefore, she may also raise someone else´s children and perform someone else´s domestic duties as well as her own. It´s like the old English adage states: a man may work from sun to sun, but a woman´s work is never done.

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