A photographer captures the Great Divide


Ed Kashi on assignment.


Ed Kashi

Ed Kashi is a relentless pursuer of ‘ground truth.’

An award winning photographer and an innovative practitioner of multimedia, VII Photo's Kashi worked with us on our latest Special Report, The Great Divide: Global Income Inequality and its Cost.

Kashi set out from Connecticut, where he and GlobalPost columnist Mike Moran documented the steep divide between the über rich of Greenwich and the gritty poor of Bridgeport. Then he traveled 8,000 miles to work with GlobalPost correspondent Patrick Winn to document the divide from the slums of Bangkok to the sleek shopping district of the Thai capital’s wealthy elite.

Check out the video of his journey:

I had the privilege of working with Kashi in the field during my recent trip to Bangkok and Burma, and in Yangon we set out to document the harsh dividing line between rich and poor in a new Myanmar. Our story will be published next month as part of the series.

But after just one day on assignment with Kashi, I learned that his reputation as one of the best in the field is well deserved. A seasoned veteran whose energy and commitment to the story can put many shooters half his age to shame, Kashi never quits stalking the light. For this project, Kashi was part of ten teams of correspondents and photographers fanning out around more than 20 countries.

For the better part of six months, we have been studying economic data to compare American cities to countries in the developing world that share the same metric for income inequality.

Our hope is that by drawing these comparisons we might hold a mirror up for our audience to see just how wide the gap between the wealthy and the poor has become in the US. As our reporting has revealed, of the 34 OECD member countries, the US now ranks 32nd for income inequality. And as our team in the field has learned, inequality comes at a great social cost.

We will be promoting the series through to Monday’s inauguration because President Obama has called income inequality “one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

More reports, photo essays and videos in this 20-part series will be published over the next eight weeks.

It is an extraordinary body of work that combines the strength of our GlobalPost correspondents with award-winning photographers from the VII Photo Agency. We also have produced an interactive map in Partnership with the Pulitzer Center that allows anyone to see how American metropolitan areas measure up against other countries. The results will surprise you, and we hope they will help you see why rising income inequality is an issue we all need to care about.