The power of garbage

  • Mexico D.F., Mexico, March 2012. Photo by C. Cirelli

In Mexico City, the waste collection system is taken care of both by the city’s sanitation services and by workers who are part The worker at the centre of this image is one of 10,000 “volunteers” who pick up waste in the Mexican capital. These people make a living from tips given by residents and from the sale of reclaimed materials. In Mexico City, the waste collection system is managed both by the City Council and by waste pickers, or pepenadores. When asked whether we could take his photo the man showed off his muscles, thus emphasizing the manliness of his job. His posture is a show of power: the power required to lift heavy weights, but also to endure the dangers associated with the handling of dirty materials. The huge black bag filled with cans he hauls above his head symbolizes the hazards of this profession.

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Claudia Cirelli