The Morning Shift (Bolivia 2008)

7am in Bolivian south west. It's freezing cold. I stand in front of the mine entrance and wait for the end of morning security meeting. After that the miners have 20 minutes to get changed and make their way inside to start their daily routine. The time pressure distracts me from concentrating but after a while I find the dark spot which I hope would let the faces stand out.

Finally the long awaited dozen starts to trail off from the hut and I start persuading the perplexed miners to give me a minute. For this part I made my homework and as I hoped for bags of coca leaves, cigarettes and alcohol proved to be the right tool to convince the first few of them. I took them to "my site" and without any particular instructions let them face the camera. I wanted to give them complete freedom of expression and that was exactly what I was getting.

As I went through the first 5 of them the rest of the crew eventually figured out that the hefty goodie bag is worth 2 minutes of their time so at the end I managed to talk the whole shift into it. By the time I finished I knew exactly how I want to present this photo-story. The same way I experienced it...

Please meet a full dozen of hard-working men. - The morning shift.