Whenever I walk by Mexico City's cathedral, I see tradesmen sitting by the south fence advertising their skills. Apparently this is a way of life. They put up signs announcing their specialties, they display their tools.
In California I used to hire guys like this. They would wait on the corner beside the Glen Ellen Market. Whenever I needed a few extra hands on my ranch, I'd drive off the mountain and pull up beside the cluster of ten or twenty workers. They'd swarm around and I'd look them over, trying in all the confusion to select men I thought would be good workers. I'd look for worn jeans and boots, calloused hands, guys thirty or more years old. I discovered Lupe Cano, my longtime ranch foreman this way.
This tile setter's face shows that this way of life isn't easy.
On the day I photographed the workers, police were lined up along the east fence. I guess some kind of demonstration was in the works.
What strikes me is the juxtaposition of workmen patiently waiting for a job and policemen leaning on their shields waiting for a riot.
Sitting stolidly in the background, the oldest cathedral in Latin America—a building that has seen it all.