This image almost made it into the latest edition of The Week in Pictures (www.msnbc.com/TWIP). When editing for that slide show, if we have several images along a similar topic -- this week, there were many winter weather and holiday images -- we feel pressure to select only one or two per topic. In other cases, we narrow the edit if two images share a similar compositional or technical component. In this case, it was partly the similarity in the use of light between this image and photograph 17 in TWIP, that caused this image from Bulgaria to get cut.
Valentina Petrova/AFP - Getty Images
An elderly woman cleans the yard of her house in the village of Kulina Voda, Dec. 15, 2006. Those still living in Bulgaria's northwest say unemployment has forced the young away, depopulating a region of closed-down plants, deserted houses, and fallow fields. It is an open question whether Bulgaria's joining the European Union on January 1 can help revitalize the local economy, or whether more open borders will worsen things.