Life and Labor

My favorite photographs are those which portray 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.

Woman´s Work

I have already said that my photographs are largely female-centered. However, for no other category of photographs than those of work is this so true. This is not to say that Maya men of the highlands don´t work hard, however. But the Maya woman just works harder. Nowadays, a Maya woman not only raises the children and attends to the domestic duities of the household, but she very often has to join the workforce. 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.