Striking drone photo series places class divide under the spotlight
Drone photography has quickly come to offer us entirely new perspectives on the world we live in, and for photographer Johnny Miller, the reality of that world isn't all rainbows, waterfalls and gorgeous cityscapes. The South African-based freelancer has been using these flying robots to document inequality around the world, resulting in a stunning and confronting set of images that highlight the stark contrast between the haves and the have-nots.
Miller found the inspiration for his Unequal Scenes series when he arrived in South Africa from the US in 2012 to study anthropology. As part of his coursework at the University of Cape Town, Miller and his classmates looked at the spatial planning and architecture of cities, and how this was influenced by apartheid.
"For example, there are huge buffer zones that were created to keep different racial groups separate," Miller tells New Atlas via email. "I just thought that was fascinating. So when I got the drone in February 2016, I had a spark of inspiration that perhaps I could capture those separations from a new perspective."
Miller's tool kit includes a DJI Inspire One drone, a DJI Mavic Pro, and a DJI M600 Pro with a Hasselblad A6D attached. These drones have taken flight around the world and snapped beautifully composed shots that drive home the extreme contrasts in how the privileged and underprivileged exist.
Some, such as the above shot of a Baltimore street, are simply artful presentations of impoverished areas. Most, however, are powerful and compelling portraits of a society cleaved into two disparate worlds of status and opportunity. Like the below image showing lower and upper-income housing in Mexico City.
Much of the Unequal Scenes series focuses on South Africa where Miller studied, but he has also turned his lens to huge metropolises like Seattle, San Francisco and Mumbai.
"To paraphrase Barack Obama, inequality is the defining challenge of this generation," Miller says. "It's not confined to one region of the world. It's not confined to one group of people, or one nation – it is intersectional, it is international. What I'm trying to do with this project is provide a visual language to discuss inequality. To help bring the topic into the public consciousness."
To see more of Miller's drone photography, be sure to have a look through our gallery.
Source: Unequal Scenes