Grief, Grind, and Glory of Work

Steve McCurry Photography

Last month the world heard the tragic news
that more than a thousand people working at a clothing factory in Bangladesh,
were killed when 
the factory they were working in collapsed.

Myanmar, Burma, 1994, final book_iconicBurma

The appetite for cheap clothing in the West is insatiable.
The people making the clothing  often pay the true cost of these items.
The scale of this factory in Burma is vast.
The sense that these workers are just part of an immense machine is
accentuated by 
the pink shirts they are obliged to wear.

BURMA-10221NF, Myanmar (Burma), 07/1994Burma

Labor disgraces no man;
unfortunately, you occasionally find men who disgrace labor.  

– Ulysses S. Grant

YEMEN-10053NF4Yemen

Whether it is men fishing,  nuns washing dishes, miners digging beneath the earth, or 
working in the heat of a steel mill, work is universal, yet intensely personal. Millions work in order to survive, and for them,
there 
is no debate about how to achieve a life/work balance.  

INDONESIA-10006Woman working in a field devastated by volcanic debris and flood waters.  Java, Indonesia

INDIA-10330NFShoe repair shop in India

Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.
– Horace

BURMA-10619NFBurma

INDIA-10844India

Your life is a journey, not a rest.
You are travelling to the promised land, from the cradle to the grave.
The Sunday at Home, December 7th 1854

AFGHN-12777Candy Factory, Kabul, Afghanistan

INDIA-11144, India, Bombay, 1997Mumbai, India

INDIA-10456NF
Gujarat, India

All happiness depends on courage and work.
– Honore de Balzac

AFGHN-10051Miners search for gems.  Hindu Kush, Afghanistan

The heights by great men reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

YUGOSLAVIA-10068MKS Steelworks, Serbia

JAPAN-10026Japan

Working for long periods under extreme stressful work conditions can lead to
sudden death, a phenomenon the Japanese call karoshi. The word in China is guolaosi.

PAKISTAN-10006NFLandi Kotal, Pakistan

AFGHN-10146Bakery run by Afghan widows, Kabul, Afghanistan

Dubrovnik, Croatia, 1989Croatia

Many find their identity in the work they do. Some enjoy intense satisfaction in their work.
For others, the line between work and play is hard to find.

Tibetans, 07/2001, final book_iconicIndia

INDIA-10679NF2, Bombay, India, 09/1993. Textiles,
           Mumbai, India

KASHMIR-10016Flower Seller, Dal Lake, Kashmir

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