Shocking Aerial Photographs Highlight the Stark Economic Divide in Mexico


The gap between the wealthy and the poverty-stricken is very wide in Mexico, but that gap doesn’t necessarily translate into physical distance, as this striking ad campaign by photographer Oscar Ruíz and Publicis Mexico boldly illustrates.

The campaign, which goes by the name Erase the Differences, was put together to raise awareness, and includes four aerial photographs in all.

Each photo shows how close beautiful housing developments are to poverty-stricken areas, and even though the images are not Photoshopped, you would swear that at least a couple of them were composites:




The photographs do most of the talking, but in case the point isn’t clear, each image is accompanied by a caption that reads:

This image has not been modified. It’s time to change that.

To find out more about this campaign, see high-res versions of the ads, or find out who all was involved in putting these together, head over to adeevee by clicking here.

(via Lost at E Minor)

  • ferro

    The people living in the housing in the top three photos are not rich or even close to it, but they probably work for a living. I do not know about the Mexican educational system, but in the U.S. most of the children of the poor refuse to work to learn anything in our school systems. This country’s poor probably expect this country’s workers to pay welfare to them forever.

  • Stan B.

    Being that “this is a photography blog,” what specific evidence do you bring to prove with such authority that these have been shopped as you claim- other than… your opinion?

  • EPOC

    And palestine, and israel, and colombia, and panama, and grenada, …

  • EPOC

    Because you do no really have a choice in who you elect!

  • natums

    Ehh, in terms of electronics companies, Apple is currently the only major brand growing it’s stateside manufacturing and assembly, and one of few with ANY stateside manufacturing OR assembly.

  • EPOC

    Singapore has no minimum wage. It is a passé concept as is immigration. Why is free love so easy to absorb but not free trade and free commerce. Government restrictions are the ones to blame here.

  • Zos Xavius

    Who cares? Regardless of processing choices the point is certainly made. Your above example looks more oversaturated on the left side now to be frank. I looked these over again and didn’t see any significant differences in the greens. Bushes and shrubs are darker than grass. Amazing I know. Also every image is manipulated in some way, so just get over it.

  • Billy___Bob

    They were shamed into making a token gesture after getting caught using child slave labor. And the media is letting them alone.

  • eish

    No sure what he wants to change –

    In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
    Voltaire (1764)

  • @SarcasticSloth

    I’m glad someone sees that liberalism (libertarianism for Americans.) is the real problem.

  • Oj0

    I’m not sure what you’re saying. There’s normally a divide of at least a few hundred meters. Sharing a wall of your luxury apartment with a slum is very different.

  • OtterMatt

    A) these are not luxury apartments. these are middle-class rent at best because the actually rich block off MUCH larger areas for themselves, and B)so what? It’s absolutely not different if it means you can keep something out of sight and thus out of mind.

    I’d still like to know how the advertisers intend that people should “fix” it, though.

  • hg

    Speaking as someone hailing from a similar area, just different country, the “grey stuff” are not slums, just older (much older) buildings that got dusty/dirty in time from all the nasty industrial stuff in the air. Give the new buildings a few years and they will look similar. If you’d look beyond the colour and pay attention to the shapes of the buildings and the state they are in, they’re similar and the “dirty ones” have all their windows and no cardboard or wooden slats. So: not slums (unlike some areas I’ve seen in Buffalo, NY or Detroit :( ).

    It’s true that the people in the new buildings might now have some more money than the ones in the old ones, but so did the people in the old ones a while ago.

    Back to photography now: these are high impact images, and yet another proof we have the power, through our cameras, to change the world views and cause a long discussion over subjects we choose to capture.

    Peace to all!

  • Andrew Read

    Always bringing it back to bush. I never said my hero was bush. He was a crap president too. But at least he could speak his mind and actually believed in something. He is part of the progressive movement as well and didn’t do anything to help get us put of debt.

  • Santiago Latapi

    They are upper middle class. And no, there IS a huge difference between those who inhabit the houses shown.

  • Santiago Latapi

    The thing is, the plants on the left are wild, while on the right you have maintained grass. Because of this, they have a darker shade. I know this because I see this neighborhood daily on my way to school.

  • Santiago Latapi

    I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. The grey buildings were never painted. They are former illegal settlements that once lacked running water and electricity. Most houses were built slowly by their inhabitants themselves. The “nicer” neighborhoods were built legally for the upper middle class. They are gated communities, and their inhabitants pay monthly maintenance fees.

  • Santiago Latapi

    Since almost half of the Mexican population is poor, the upper middle class is seen as “rich” by some. And the second and fourth pictures actually are of luxury developments. I’ve been to both.

  • Ridgecity

    Plot twist: that’s actually the middle class next to the rich.

  • JustFedUp86

    The point is I hear day and day out how everything that went wrong in this country is the fault of the Republicans, but it was the same president who actually signed it into law (Clinton) who also signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999 which set up the deregulation of the financial industry and led us to the crash of 2008. Saying “well Bush did it also!” is sidestepping the blame of the Democrats in this mess, and two wrongs don’t make a right. Clinton could have stood up and refused to sign and said either was a bad law, but instead he gets the fame but none of the blame.

  • Mario Alberto Medina Nussbaum

    A $15/hour minimum wage is nothing compared to a $0.61/hour minimum wage in Mexico. And that’s not only for people working on fast food, but about 30% of mexican population.