POTD: The unacknowledged cost of development

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The unacknowledged cost of development. Leica M8, 35/2 ASPH

One from the archives. Whilst this photo was taken in early 2009, the sentiment is as relevant today as ever – perhaps more so. An old village near the center of town – that’s the Petronas Twin Towers in the background – was demolished to make way for a new commercial complex. I also see the image as a metaphor for development: first take the easy bits, then when that’s not enough, move on to encroaching on nature; finally, end up with a soulless concrete jungle. Who knows what happened to the people who used to live here? If they’re lucky, they’ll be compensated a fraction of the value of their land, and forced to move on elsewhere, splitting up the community and probably creating a gambling or drinking problem because they don’t know what else to do with the money. Most of the traditional way of life is already waning as a consequence of the modern societal drive for ‘more, better’ – the vast majority of people I work with and encounter today are happy to sacrifice plenty in the quest for riches.

Curiously though, the younger generation seems to be rediscovering the importance of passion in work, ethical values and sustainability – or perhaps it’s just the same rebellious antiestablishment thing done by youths everywhere. I think it’s a good thing. People aren’t machines (though many big companies secretly wish they were so, even if they publicly proclaim otherwise) MT


  1. […] 2. Metaphors, allegories and tricks A good example of this is your stereotypical beggar-against-a-luxury-goods-store contrast. What other compositional and subject-based tools has the photographer used to make you stay that little bit longer to consider the content of the image? Does it make you think? Sometimes the contrasts can be obvious, such as the previous example. Use of reflections or inversions are another example. Inclusion of the photographer in the frame, as a conscious observer. Multiple exposures, allusions to popular culture, folk lore, etc. Chronological progression or development in a single frame. At other times, it can be greater than that and more complicated – a story in a frame. […]

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