Ghost Estates: Unoccupied Reminders of Ireland’s Housing Boom

For a few months in 2005, I lived in Ireland. At the time, the country was bustling with a property boom – and large 4 bedroom houses were springing up in remote towns far from centers that could provide employment for any new population. They were often called ‘holiday homes’ because nobody expected the future inhabitants to find, or even want, jobs.

From the mid-1990s to 2006 house prices in the Republic of Ireland increased, a prosperous time referred to as the Celtic Tiger. Then, in 2008 with the start of the global financial crisis, all that came to a halt.

Irish-born photographer Valérie Anex (who grew up in Switzerland) traveled the northern and western regions of the country documenting the developments that have never been occupied. The eerie places are called ‘Ghost Estates’.

Dive In! Photos of Swimming Pools From Around the World

Dutch photojournalist Marieke van der Velden has been taking photos of swimming pools in each country she has traveled to since 2009. Her work for NGOs has taken her to Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and beyond. Much of her organization-based work can be draining and emotional due to the subject matter she is photographing. Visiting swimming pools can give her a bit of refuge. ‘They have a quiet, positive atmosphere. They give me a rest from the reportages‘ she tells the Guardian.

Army Eats: What Does Your Country Feed Their Soldiers?

Around the world there are millions of soldiers, and all of them need to eat. Some are currently in a conflict, others are in training and some are just waiting. When in the field, the standard meal is an MRE, or “Meal, Ready-to-Eat.” Typically, these ready made meals come with a small instant heat pack to warm the contents of the foods provided.

30 Years of Sore Thumbs: Photographer Captures His Legendary Game Controllers

Here’s some tactile nostalgia… but it might give you seriously sore thumbs. Spanish photographer Javier Laspiur has created a trip through the game controllers of yesterday, capturing a familiar, first-person view of many well remembered systems from the last 3 decades. A long time fan of gaming, his series doesn’t record the year the device came out, but instead makes it personal, tracking the first year he laid hands on each system.

Surprised Kayakers Get Lifted From the Sea on the Back of a Whale

“I’m on a Whale!” Well, at least that’s what I’m imagining these two kayakers said when they got an unexpected ride from a whale off the coast of Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Reported to be a father and daughter out for a scenic paddle, the two spotted a pod of southern right whales. To their surprise one of the whales came closer, swam under their tiny boat and lifted them gently out of the water on its back. They captured the entire playful encounter in a GoPro video that has now gone solidly viral… but not without controversy.