In global megacities, life is a kaleidoscope of stories

More than half of Earth’s citizens live in urban areas. This photographer challenged himself to capture cities’ essence in a single image.

A bus stop, a digital photo lab, and traditional vendors share space on a corner in Karachi, Pakistan.

 More people live in cities than ever before. According to the United Nations Population Fund, over half of the world’s citizens now live in an urban area—a figure expected to reach nearly 70 percent by 2050. Globally, one in eight of those city dwellers lives in a megacity, defined by the UN as a place with more than 10 million people.

That’s why I started this series, which I call “Metropolis.” I wanted to focus on the UN statistics—and show what they actually look like. So from 2007 to 2015 I photographed megacities and documented the dynamic process of urbanization.

I asked myself several questions: How can people live in cities that are so crowded, hectic, and chaotic? What are the differences among these megacities? And what do they have in common?

Read This Next

These ants can shrink and regrow their brains

How to stop discarded face masks from polluting the planet

‘Tiger King’ stars’ face scrutiny in court

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet