French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s Earth from Above photography show is now distributed almost as widely as the 500,000 shots he took over 100 countries.
Shooting pictures from his helicopter of cars piled in a junkyard in France, a flooded village in Bangladesh and even our own Old Faithful, Arthus-Bertrand hopes to illustrate the necessity of “sustainable future.” The photographs on display all have a human figure in them, for scale and perspective, and all have accompanying captions.
He calls himself a “witness photographer” who hopes to show that “our present levels and models of consumption, production and exploitation of resources are not viable over the long term.” He hopes that his photography as well as his advocacy projects, like GoodPlanet.org and Actioncarbone.org will inspire and motivate change.
I feel lucky to have seen the show in Bangkok – it ends Sept. 9 – in the rain with monks and a blond boy from Germany. While waltzing through the outdoor gallery, I hummed Dave Matthews. Two verses came to mind:
1. Would you not like to be sittin’ on top of the world with your legs hanging free? (Lie in Our Graves)
2. Would you like to dance around the world with me (I’ll Back You Up)
In the show, we learn about the issues of our time: melting ice caps, deforestation, contaminated water, energy consumption, war, starvation, extinction. … But, we also see beautiful things like markets, heart-shaped tree groves and smiles. I’d like to think that from rice patties to rigs, from Jackson Hole to Burma, we’re all doing our best with the information we have. And that we’ll all keep getting better.
Earth From Above comes to New York next Spring. Go see it.