With their backs to the camera and their faces hidden in the shadows of a partly rolled-up metal curtain, these anonymous workers sit at a lunch counter during a brief respite from work. Shoeshine boxes and paint-splattered overalls reveal the hard manual labor they are engaged in. The stools, chained to each other and to the counter, suggest the constraints and limited opportunities of the laborer's world.
The working class and its arduous toil were important issues to Manuel Alvarez Bravo, whose depiction of everyday subjects often made them appear extraordinary. His title for this photograph, The Crouched Ones, may seem odd, given that none of the figures is visibly crouched over. Alvarez Bravo viewed the act of crouching as a defense mechanism of Mexicans, "who can fold their body and soul into this humble position and still retain their pride and integrity."