Shoe black: a dying craft

Shoe black: a dying craft


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Assen Ivanov Yordanov works at Sofia's Central Railway Station. He is a Roma shoe black who's fallen on hard times as his profession fades into obsolescence. Shoe polishing was a popular profession among Roma.

The 72-year-old Yordanov supports his family of three daughters, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. His father, grandfather and most of his relatives were shoe blacks. Yordanov can barely make ends meet. Even with the $103 monthly pension he gets for his service to the Soviet regime, it's barely enough to pay his bills.

But shoe shining is all Yordanov knows. “This craft is almost dead,” he says, lamenting that modern society doesn’t have the money or time for a shoe shine.

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