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Johnny Miller//Millefoto

Drone Pictures Provide a Birds' Eye View of South Africa's Social Inequality

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Johnny Miller//Millefoto

South Africa's notorious social inequality is just as striking from above. Cape Town-based photographer Johnny Miller recently shot a series of drone pictures that provide viewers with a birds' eye view of the stark segregation between rich and poor (and in many cases, black and white) communities in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban.

Called "Unequal Scenes," the project, recently highlighted by PetaPixel, began as a single Facebook post. Miller won a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, which took him to the University of Cape Town to study anthropology in 2012. Eventually, Miller bought a drone, and he wanted to incorporate the knowledge he'd gained from his master's program into his photography.

"During my coursework, we covered a lot of topics, and some of the most interesting to me were spatial planning and the architecture of the city, specifically the particular way that was done under apartheid," Miller said in a statement he shared with mental_floss. "For example, there are huge buffer zones that were created to keep different race groups separate. I just thought that was fascinating. So when I got the drone, I had a spark of inspiration that perhaps I could capture those separations from a new perspective."

Miller took his drone outside Cape Town, to the boundary between the local Masiphumelele community and its surroundings—an area he calls "one of the most dramatic examples of informal settlements." He posted the resulting picture on Facebook, and it was shared more than 1000 times. The response drove Miller to take more photos of apartheid and post-apartheid urban planning in other South African cities. He eventually created a separate website for "Unequal Scenes," and is delivering a series of lectures on his work. Miller is also currently releasing a new photo a day.

According to Miller, the images are "just the beginning" of a larger, interdisciplinary project in which he interviews people in these South African communities and others, pairs their perspectives, and presents his findings. Check out some of Miller's images below, or visit his website, Twitter, or Facebook for more information.

All photos courtesy of Johnny Miller//Millefoto

[h/t Petapixel]

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Courtesy Sotheby's
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You Can Buy the Oldest Surviving Photo of a U.S. President
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Courtesy Sotheby's

The descendent of a 19th-century U.S. Congressman has discovered a previously unknown presidential portrait that is likely the oldest surviving photograph of a U.S. president, The New York Times reports.

Previously, two 1843 portraits of John Quincy Adams were thought to be the oldest photographs of a president still around. Currently hanging in the National Portrait Gallery, one of them was found on sale at an antique shop in 1970 for a mere 50 cents. Now, an even older photo of the sixth president has been uncovered, and it’ll cost you more than 50 cents to buy it.

Adams sat for dozens of photographs throughout his life, so it’s not entirely surprising that a few more surviving portraits would be uncovered. At the time this newly discovered half-plate daguerreotype was taken in March 1843, Adams had already served out his term as president and had returned to Congress as a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts. The photo was taken by Philip Haas, who in August of that same year would take other daguerreotypes that we previously thought were the oldest surviving photos. (Despite his apparent willingness to be photographed, Adams called them “all hideous.”)

John Quincy Adams sits in a portrait studio in 1843.
Courtesy Sotheby's

After having three daguerreotypes taken that day in March, Adams gave one of them to his friend and fellow Congressman Horace Everett, inscribing it with both their names. Everett’s great-great-grandson eventually found it in his family’s belongings and is now putting it up for sale through Sotheby’s.

It isn't the oldest picture of a U.S. president ever taken, though. The first-ever was actually a portrait of William Henry Harrison made in 1841, but unlike this one, the original has not survived. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art owns a copy of it, which was made in 1850.)

The head of the Sotheby’s department for photographs, Emily Bierman, told The New York Times that the newly discovered image is “without a doubt the most important historical photo portrait to be offered at auction in the last 20 years.” (She also noted that the former POTUS is wearing “cute socks” in it.)

The daguerreotype will be on sale as part of a photography auction at Sotheby’s in October and is expected to sell for an estimated $150,000 to $250,000. Start saving.

[h/t The New York Times]

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9 Exhilarating Close-Up Photos of Sharks
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Dive into the world of Shark, a new book by award-winning photographer Brian Skerry.

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