Unequal Scenes is a photographic project, a platform for multimedia storytelling, and a home for creatives, activists, scientists and journalists to connect and strategize creative approaches to make the world a more healthy, fair, and equitable place.
Unequal Scenes aligns itself with the UN SDGs, specifically in the fight against extreme inequality, climate change, and sustainable cities and communities. I believe that creating strong, accessible, and accurate narratives can drive mass action, which can drive positive social change.
About the Photographic Project
Unequal Scenes uses a drone to illustrate the inscribed history of our world in a new way. The scars within our urban fabric, so apparent from above, can provoke a sense of surprise…But also reveal our complicity in systematic disenfranchisement.
We live within neighborhoods and participate in economies that reinforce inequality. We habituate ourselves with routines and take for granted the built environment of our cities. We’re shocked seeing tin shacks and dilapidated buildings hemmed into neat rows, bounded by the fences, roads, and parks of the wealthiest few.
But it’s the very scale and unerring regularity across geographic regions which points to the systemic nature of inequality. This is not organic – this is planned and intentional disenfranchisement.
By placing a non-human photographic actor – in this case, a remote-controlled drone – above these liminal spaces, a new vantage point is reached, previously reserved for the government and the very rich. The drone distances the photographer and the viewer of the photograph, both physically and mentally, and provokes an analysis of the distant gaze. It forces us to confront the ethics of representation, and the limitations (and freedom) of using technology in image-making.
Make no mistake – Unequal Scenes is an act of defiance. I defy the traditional power structures that keep these inequalities hidden so well from every direction except directly above. If the images provoke uncomfortable feelings of fear, despair, or an unsettling realization of complicity – good. They are intended to.
(Cape Town, South Africa - June 2018)