Economic disparity is not always blatantly obvious—sometimes it is subtle, creeping in at the edges of our awareness. It is quiet and insidious; it doesn’t always represent itself in a clear and concise manner. Sometimes the disparity is woven into the very fabric of a culture.

The aesthetics of modern culture are slowly conditioning us to accept disparity as the norm. It’s not just the poor versus the wealthy: it is a war between color, texture, and design. Each of these elements has symbols, and each of these symbols change their meaning as they are perceived by the various groups of the social strata.

This project is set in Bangkok, my home for now. It is an attempt to define and explore economic disparity with the belief that it has become institutionalized. But the idea goes beyond this city—it is global, and as such, the definition of disparity is nefarious and capricious.

—Adam Birkan

If you’re interested in seeing more work on this and similar topics, we’d recommend the following articles: Unequal Scenes—South Africa from the Air, images shot from a drone’s-eye-view that highlight the economic disparity in South Africa; Detroit Nocturne, nighttime portraits of small businesses in Detroit that challenge the narrative about the city’s recent rebirth; and The Poverty Line, an award-winning project spanning 24 countries that explores the kind of food people can afford to buy when they live on the poverty line.