Wednesday, August 01, 2007

How the Sun Shines on the Soda Men

Two young male workers unload bottles from a Coca Cola delivery truck in Bangkok. Their shirts are a brighter red than the truck. The taller one is broad-shouldered and the veins of his forearms are thick. The shorter one has a Buddhist amulet around his neck. They are proud. They step out of the shade and pose for me in the full sunlight. They stare at the camera, but just underneath their serious looks are smirks. I want the picture to document how they collect used glass bottles while delivering full ones ready for consumption. In Thailand, as in India, soda bottles almost never go into the garbage. They are not melted down or remade. They go back to the bottling plant and are used again in their original form. You must drink your Cokes where you buy them. No sipping while strolling down the streets. No casual toss and clink of bottle against bottle in the garbage bin. I want the picture to be about recycling in Asia, but the picture is about something else. It is about Thai men who want the world to see how vital they are. I think they want their country to be seen shining, attractive, and modern.

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