The M. Reichmann Grant
For Emerging Photographers
Johnny Miller - Western Province, South Africa
Unequal Scenes portrays dramatic scenes of inequality around the world from a drone's perspective. Using new technology and a keen eye for balance, contrast, and design, I have researched and shot South Africa's most divided communities. I intend to continue my project, with your help, to expand and take photos in the Global North.
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. Looking straight down from a height of several hundred meters, incredible scenes of inequality emerge. Some communities have been expressly designed with separation in mind, and some have grown more or less organically. Oftentimes, communities of extreme wealth and privilege will exist just meters from squalid conditions and shack dwellings.
I began this project in April 2016 with the intention of only capturing the most divided communities in South Africa. But with the global success of the project transforming it into a phenomenon, I realized that I needed to expand the project to other countries. I have been fortunate enough to travel to Kenya and Mexico with the project, and will be traveling to South America later this year. However, what I really want to do (and what I have been encouraged to do) is to take my project to the areas of the Global North which are ALSO unequal - the ghettos of the USA, the refugee camps in Europe, the industrial heartland of the UK.
With your help, and the funding from this award, I will be able to travel to the USA, where I already have researched Unequal Scenes and where I am originally from. I intend to visit Seattle, my hometown, as well as Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Detroit, and Philadelphia (this list is subject to change, but those are the cities I have researched so far).
My desire with this project is to portray the most Unequal Scenes in around the world as objectively as possible. 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. I hope to eventually produce a book which will contain all of these images.