During apartheid, barriers were both constructed and modified to segregate urban spaces—roads, rivers, and large stretches of open land separating rich neighborhoods from the poor. Twenty-two years later these barriers still exist, large homes with lush lawns just a few yards away from tightly-packed communities organized with dirt roads rather than tree-lined streets. Photographer Johnny Miller wanted to capture the dramatic divide from a new perspective, and decided to shoot many areas in South Africa from several hundred feet in the air for a series titled “Unequal Scenes.”
By utilizing aerial photographs, the separation is all the more apparent, suburban sprawl nestled up against tight and overcrowded streets. Due to the camera’s position so high in the air, the details of each area becomes obscured. It is difficult to pinpoint an exact location for the photographs, allowing the viewer to relate the imagery to communities in their own part of the world that may also carry distinct inequalities.
“My desire with this project is to portray the most Unequal Scenes in South Africa as objectively as possible,” Miller explains in a statement about the project. “By providing a new perspective on an old problem, I hope to provoke a dialogue which can begin to address the issues of inequality and disenfranchisement in a constructive and peaceful way.”
Miller has an upcoming exhibition of his photographs in early August in Johannesburg that will be announced soon. You can see more of his aerial photographs that document inequality on his Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. (This Isn’t Happiness)