Monday, May 30, 2011

our living earth

Review of

Our living earth
Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Isabelle Delannoy
Thames & Hudson 2008

Yann Arthus-Bertrand is famous for his aerial photographs of our planet and its inhabitants. I understand the photographer typically works from hovering hot-air balloons, so his vantage points are distant enough to reveal patterns that we don’t see from the ground, but close enough to still see the humans and their vehicles that create these patterns.

He has very successfully marketed these photos in coffee-table books with titles like “The Earth from above” and in exhibitions. In this book, his photos are hooked up with facts and figures about the current threats to our environment, and with pleas to save the Earth, which puts the photos to a good use and also gives the reader the warm feeling of doing something useful rather than just looking at pretty pictures.

The text, aimed at young readers, doesn’t delve into scientific depths, and doesn’t cite sources for the numbers given, which is a bit of a shame. If the photos and alarming facts manage to stir readers up to the extent that they want to find out more, they will have to go googling to find more comprehensive accounts.

I found copies of the book at The Works for 99 pence, which is outrageous – but grab one if you can.

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