Having a bad job is better than having no job, but there’s no doubt that monotonous, bottom-wage manual labour is the pits. Photographer Michael Wolf snapped this haunting series of Chinese workers building cheap toys for… us.
The labour depicted here is of a very different kind than that at Foxconn in one important way: these people know what they’re building. Dolls, trucks, little Mickey Mouse figurines. They’re cogs, but not in a machine so vast they don’t know what the end result is. Still, it’s not exactly rewarding work—and their faces show it all, though Wolf tells us the atmosphere in the factory was mostly “busy, not depressing.”