1993, Ivory Coast
Plate 37, 27x18
It is not so much what this picture represents as what it contradicts and what it illuminates. I realized this when I passed a McDonald's at LAX Airport on my return home. It does not show us what we are used to - so many short order meals, prepared by so many workers; so detached, so captured, so bored and so dead.
This woman was one with her enterprise, and the enterprise was one with her. They knew each other. They helped each other. They made each other possible and worthwhile. Each morning she brought fresh ingredients, new oil, a steady supply of spices, a highly polished cooking pan, and that one magical thing that set it off by itself - a smile as big as life. She was happy because she had an opportunity to create and interact.
McDonald's owned the hamburger. McDonald's sold the hamburger. McDonald's got most of the money for the hamburger. What was shared with the workers was so small it went unnoticed. What McDonald's and Ford gave the people, they also took away - the pride of involvement. Of all the richest, by far, was this lady - the owner and operator of her kingdom.