Shocking Aerial Photos Highlight Wealth Inequality in Cities Worldwide

Global wealth inequality widened last year as billionaires increased their fortunes by $2.5 billion per day, anti-poverty campaigner Oxfam said in a new report. While the poorest half of humanity saw their wealth dwindles by 11%, billionaires’ riches increased by 12%. The mega-wealthy have also become a more concentrated bunch. Last year, the top 26 wealthiest people owned $1.4 trillion, or as much as the 3.8 billion poorest people. The year before, it was the top 43 people.

Below we are bringing you a set of unbelievable photos captured by Johnny Miller a talented photographer who has captured hundreds of aerial shots in South Africa, India, Tanzania, the United States, and Kenya for a project he named unequal scenes. The project was born from Miller’s time in South Africa, where he moved to study for a master’s degree in anthropology. Startled by the tin shacks he saw around him, which give way to affluent neighborhoods, he began using his camera to force people not to turn away from issues of wealth inequality. Below are his words on wealth inequality.

“The images that I find the most powerful are when the camera is looking straight down—what’s known as ‘nadir view,’ looking at the actual borders between rich and poor,” Miller tells My Modern Met. “Sometimes this is a fence, sometimes a road, or wetlands—with small shacks or poor houses on one side, and larger houses or mansions on the other. Whatever it is about the composition of those photographs, they are extremely powerful to people. I think the images make inequality relevant—people can see themselves reflected in the images, and it’s deeply unsettling.”

“Shooting in dangerous cities and informal settlements often mean you are highly aware of your surrounding environment, your personal safety, and the actions you are having on the community around you,” he shares. “When you have official support, it can be a fun, even rousing atmosphere—like in Kibera, Kenya, where we were surrounded by dozens of people cheering at the drone rising into the sky. When you are on your own, it can be much more challenging and even scary.”

Browse through the highlights of Millers photos and let us know what you think…

In 2016, Johnny Miller started taking drone photos in South Africa to highlight the wealth inequality he saw around him.

Masiphumelele, South Africa
Masiphumelele, South Africa
Stellenbosch and Kayamandi, South Africa
Stellenbosch and Kayamandi, South Africa

Now, he’s bringing Unequal Scenes around the world to open the public’s eyes about an issue that may be uncomfortable for some.

Mumbai, India
Mumbai, India
 Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City, Mexico

“I think the images make inequality relevant–people can see themselves reflected in the images, and it’s deeply unsettling.”

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Seattle, USA
Seattle, USA

Miller hopes his work will spark conversations.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya

“Through these conversations, we can begin to understand the scope of the problem, and through that understanding, we can develop solutions.”

Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City, Mexico
Baltimore, USA
Baltimore, USA
Mumbai, India
Mumbai, India
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City, Mexico

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