Drawing on photographs of the 1954 banana workers' strike in Honduras, this article seeks to demonstrate the potential of the visual archive for recovering the historical agency of the working class. Photos from the archive of a studio photographer named Rafael Platero Paz enable me to rethink the role of United Fruit Company workers in staging an event that brought the Honduran worker into being as a new political subject. The fact that every photograph is its own certificate of a that-was-there can be drawn upon to radically historicize moments when the shutter opened to capture a particular image. After attending to the ways that the striking workers self-consciously and photographically asserted themselves — as employees, citizens, and devout Catholics — I outline a methodological framework for historians of Latin America who wish to engage with photographs, a source material of unique evidentiary and poetic force.

You do not currently have access to this content.