Polluted Landscape. 'Due to the vast exploitation of coal mines, meadows in Holingol City, Inner Mongolia, China, are left degraded and no cattle or sheep exist there. In order to maintain the image of the city, the local government sculptured more than 120 sheep, as well as cattle, horses and camels in the Horqin grassland': photo by Lu Guang, 2012 via, via The Guardian, 21 February 2013
The feeling that life is essentially inadequate to the human spirit, and yet that a good life must avoid saying so, is naturally at home with most versions of pastoral; in pastoral you take a limited life and pretend it is the full and normal one, and a suggestion that one must do this with all life, because the normal is itself limited, is easily put into the trick though not necessary to its power. Conversely any expression of the idea that all life is limited may be regarded as only a trick of pastoral, perhaps chiefly intended to hold all our attention and sympathy for some limited life, though again this is not necessary to it either on grounds of truth or beauty; in fact the suggestion of pastoral may be only a protection for the idea which must at last be taken alone.
William Empson: from Some Versions of the Pastoral, 1935
Reindeer on Disco-Tour, northern Sweden: photo by Jürgen Howaldt, 2004
Survivors.'This century-old building in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh does not harbour ghosts of the past -– it shelters living and hopeful souls, braving life in the present. It is home to 80 families of sweepers -- one of the most neglected and downtrodden communities, despite rendering an important service making it deserved to be noticed and respected': photo by GMB Akash, 2011 via The Guardian, 21 February 2013
Model Housing. 'Designer housing lies almost empty unsold after the housing boom ends in Spain; just some of the estimated 1.2m empty properties that Spain has on offer. This estate near the coast is eerily quiet with only a few properties occupied; concept living that has made it to construction but with no one to move in. We seem to have an innate need to order and compartmentalise our lives, often more obvious from the air': photo by Steve Brockett, 2012 via The Guardian, 21 February 2013