In 1932, Paul Strand travelled to Mexico. The work he completed during his two-year stay has framed our histories of Strand's practice in the 1930s and 1940s as a history of his turning away from his commitment to formalism in the 1920s. Paul Strand's Living Labor challenges this history through an examination of The Wave , a documentary film Strand shot in 1934. A study of labor struggles in post-revolutionary Mexico, The Wave , this essay argues, reanimates Strand's investigation of the relationship between man and machine evident in his first film, Manhatta (1921). Focusing on Strand's obsession with the close-up and the portrait, Paul Strand's Living Labor organizes a history of Strand's work that rejects the binaries framing our studies of Strand: between New York and Mexico, film and photography, modernism and documentary.