In the heart of Venezuela, Santiago Rodriguez is capturing the burgeoning reality of vertical slums. With his project "Skyward Bound: Stories from the Vertical Slums," he approaches urbanization from a different lens, showcasing the challenges and triumphs of high-rise slum dwellers. Through his striking imagery, he unveils a layered narrative about urban poverty and rapid city growth.
Vertical slums are symbolic of a world where the poor have no place to go but up. These dilapidated buildings, originally intended as commercial or residential complexes, have morphed into towering slums, accommodating countless families in precarious conditions. Rodriguez's approach to photojournalism melds the gritty realism of life in these high-rises with the stark aesthetic of urban architecture, creating a visual dichotomy that speaks volumes about the state of urban poverty.
A common thread in Rodriguez's work is the human spirit's resilience, highlighted through stories of the vertical slum dwellers. His photographs don't merely depict a struggle for survival, but a fervent quest for dignity and community in an unlikely environment. This project draws attention to these vertical cities within cities, making the invisible visible in a landscape of inescapable urban growth.