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ELEVATOR OPERATORS


Héctor Mediavilla

This peculiar job still continues to exist in some Latin American cities. The elevator operators of the Miguel Alemán residential complex (Colonia del Valle, Mexico City) act as doormen in eleven buildings that contain 1,100 apartments; this innovative housing development, designed in 1947 by the architect Mario Pani, follows the principles of Le Corbousier: “In order to fully develop in a place, the human being needs access to three basic sources of well-being: light, space and green areas”. Contradicting these principles, an elevator operator 'lives' a third of their day inside a metal box - just 2 metres square - which, in addition, they have to share with the lift users. 

 Every elevator operator is free to personalise his or her elevator in the slack periods during the working day and thus make their work less boring. Through this personalising, and the way in which they relate to the residents, some of the operators demonstrate just how important the way of working is in a job that could easily be just a monotonous grind. 




 

Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0199329

Manuel (71) has been doing the night shift in Building J for 10 years now. He likes the contact with the people and the relations he has built up.

Mexico, Mexico, Mexique - 12/05/2008

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Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0199333

María Luisa Mójica (40) has been working for 6 years now, doing different shifts in Building C. She likes talking to the residents but feels she spends too many hours cooped up in her lift.

Mexico, Mexico, Mexique - 12/05/2008

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Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0199332

Elisabeth García (17) replaces her mother in Building H. She'd rather find another job.

Mexico, Mexico, Mexique - 14/05/2008

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Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0199330

Leonor Castro Reina (78) has been doing the night shift in Building H for 12 years now. During the day she runs a neighbourhood pâtisserie with her husband. She particularly likes the contact with the residents.

Mexico, Mexico, Mexique - 20/05/2008

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Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0199331

Lucía F. (40) has been doing various shifts in Building D for the last 6 years. She doesn't like the job but has no alternative but to carry on.

Mexico, Mexico, Mexique - 25/05/2008

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Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0199334

Roberto Luján Fernández (70) with his granddaughter in the elevator in Building D. He has lived in the area for fifty years, and has worked as a lift operator for the last 6 years to top up his pension. He also sells some small articles like watches or colognes. He likes chatting to the residents but finds the job a bit boring.

Mexico, Mexico, Mexique - 14/05/2008

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Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0199336

Jorge González Luna (70) has been doing the night shift in Building H for the last 5 years. He likes everything about his job, especially the contact with people.

Mexico, Mexico, Mexique - 14/05/2008

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Héctor Mediavilla / Picturetank MEH0199335

Elia San Román (77) does the night shift in Building C. She really likes being able to read at work since this is one of her passions.

Mexico, Mexico, Mexique - 25/05/2008

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