Be on the lookout for Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s Earth from Above: An aerial portrait of our planet towards a sustainable development. The Earth from Above text and photography installation has already been translated into 24 languages, and more than 80 million people in about 100 cities have seen this exhibition, set outdoors. If Earth from Above isn’t coming anywhere near your area, you can still view it as a glossy coffee table book. The photographs in this exhibit range from aerial views of the pre-9/11 World Trade Center’s twin towers to the turquoise waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to fields of tulips growing near Amsterdam—their yellows, greens, reds, and pinks arranged in perfectly geometric rows.
The purpose of Earth from Above is to document the “state of the planet” at the beginning of a new millennium and to invite viewers “to think about the changes of the planet and the future of its inhabitants.” Yann Arthus-Bertrand, as a witness photographer, hopes that his work will illustrate the fact that our “present levels and modes of consumption, production and exploitation of resources are not viable over the long term” but that we are at a “decisive stage” where alternatives offered by sustainable development can still bring about positive changes for future generations.
I saw Earth from Above on display this week at the Lake Wanaka waterfront in New Zealand. Being able to view the exhibit in a country as beautiful as New Zealand added to its emotional and evocative power. Rain clouds threatened our peaceful afternoon, and the installation text had been tailored for local viewers—offering interesting tidbits such as “67% of visitors to New Zealand say they visit this country for the landscape.” The landscape, in particular, is not the reason why I am in New Zealand at the moment—but, I agree, it is probably this country’s most attractive feature.
For further exploration: