Photographers have been using drones in recent years to wow us with breathtaking shots of stunning scenery and jaw-dropping landscapes. But now photographer Johnny Miller wants to show us a different side of life from a whole new perspective, through an initiative he calls Unequal Scenes.
Since 2012, Miller has been fascinated with just how visible social inequality can be – especially when viewed from the air. From the vantage point of a high-flying drone, the demarcation lines of gentrification and deprivation become all too visible – well-kept, affluent neighbourhoods adjacent to examples of extreme poverty.
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On his Facebook page, Miller writes: “Discrepancies in how people live are sometimes hard to see from the ground. The beauty of being able to fly is to see things from a new perspective - to see things as they really are.”
Vukuzenzele / Sweet Home, Cape Town, South Africa
On the right of this photograph, we see Vukuzenzele – a neighbourhood that is a smart, planned, housing development with its regular cadence of streets and houses, some of which have neatly tended lawns. But to the left we see Sweet Town – a former dumping site for discarded rubble, on which a small congested, ramshackle township has sprung up.
India’s most densely packed city, with a population of around 22 million, Mumbai is home to many contrasts. Here, skyscrapers tower over one of the world’s most infamous slums, Dharavi – the setting for the film Slumdog Millionaire. By contrast with the $1 billion glass and steel of their wealthy neighbours, many residents of Dharavi use blue tarpaulins as makeshift roofs for their homes.
You would be forgiven for thinking you were looking at photos of two separate locations that had been spliced together. But no, this is the Santa Fe neighbourhood of Mexico City where the dividing line between the haves and the have-nots is impossible to miss.
The march of progress, particularly where urban development is concerned, can go a long way to eradicating some of the worst extremes of inequality. But this scene in Kenya prompted Miller to turn to Twitter on 11 July 2018, saying: “Two years ago I flew aerials for a story on a road in Kibera, Nairobi which was about to displace thousands of residents. Now, that road is moving forward. Demolitions begin on Monday - without compensation for residents.”
Oakland, California, USA
Even in the world’s most prosperous country, there are stark inequalities to be seen. Here in Oakland, on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay, homeless people have established an unofficial tent city next to the I-880 highway. Such scenes have become increasingly common in many US cities in recent years.