25 Mind-Blowing Aerial Photographs Around the World
Rano Kau volcano in Rapa Nui National Park, Easter Island, Chile – Photograph by YANN ARTHUS BERTRAND
For me, the allure of aerial photography is the unique perspective it gives. The world feels so different when viewed from above. It always gives me a newfound appreciation for this pale blue dot we call home.
In my opinion, there is no better aerial photographer than Yann Arthus Bertrand. His volume of work is incomparable, and he has an incredible eye for the interesting and provocative. I own one of his many coffee table books and it is absolutely mind-blowing. Below you will find information on Bertrand along with a small sample of his amazing work.
2. Islet in the terraced rice fields of Bali, Indonesia
3. Djidji waterfalls, Ivindo National Park, Gabon
4. Mount Everest, Himalayas, Nepal
5. Pink ebony on the Kaw mountain, French Guiana
YANN ARTHUS BERTRAND
Born in Paris, France on March 13, 1946, Yann Arthus-Bertrand is a world-renowned photographer specializing in aerial photography. He didn’t fully realize his talents as a photographer until he was older (early thirties), spending three years in the late 70s, in Kenya living with the Massai tribe and studying the behaviour of a pride of lions. He thus discovered a new passion for photography and the beauty of landscapes when observed from above in hot air balloons. He understood the power of a picture and how to communicate using this means.
Upon his return to France, he published in 1981 his first book Lions, first release of a series of 80 books. He also began a career as a reporter-photographer and closely worked with various naturalists including Dian Fossey and her mountain gorillas in Rwanda. His work was published in many internationally known magazines such as Paris Match, Geo, Life or National Geographic. In 1991, Yann created Altitude, the first photo agency specialized in aerial photography.
6. Gannet colony, Eldey island, Iceland
7. Makoko shanty town, Lagos lagoon, Nigeria
8. Satellite dishes on the roofs of Aleppo, Syria
9. Moshav (co-operative village) farm at Nahalal, Israel
10. The Orinoco River near the Esmeralda (Amazon Rain Forest), Venezuela
YANN ARTHUS-BERTRAND continued…
In the 90s, under the patronage of UNESCO, Yann embarked upon his most ambitious project: creating an image bank of the Earth seen from above. Yann’s aim was to create a record of the world’s environment for present and future generations. In 1999, his work was published and The Earth from Above, translated in 24 languages, became one of the best selling illustrated books with more than three million copies sold worldwide. The Earth from Above is also an open-air free access exhibition that travels in more than 100 cities around the world and has attracted to this date over 100 million visitors. But it is still a work in progress. Many countries remain to be visited, and geographical coordinates of every shot will allow other photographers and scientists to locate and document the evolution of these sites.
In 2005 Yann Arthus-Bertrand created GoodPlanet, a non-profit organization which is dedicated to the promotion of sustainable development, his leitmotiv, through all his different projects. Yann would like to enable each and every one of us to become a custodian of our planet’s future and consequently of our own future. He also directed a series of four, two hour documentaries entitled Earth From Above – which was shown on French television in 2006-2007 –, and started this year the production of a feature length film on the state of the global environment and the challenges we are facing.
11. Iguazu waterfalls, Argentina and Brazil
12. New Palm oil plantation, Borneo, Indonesia
13. Bungle Bungle National Park, Kimberley, Australia
14. Greenhouses in San Augustin near Almería, Andalusia, Spain
15. Humid area near Surgut, Siberia, Russia
“For a long time, I was afraid to use that word. Still, it holds a truth and I have made it mine. There is a universal quality about beauty; in front of a vast landscape, we all share the same feeling of wonder. When nature is beautiful, we are all moved by it. While taking a photo ‘for beauty at its best’, I aim at eliciting emotion to provoke thought and the need to know more, to read the caption and learn what is at stake on the image.”
“When framing a photograph, one looks with more tension, more professionally; one concentrates, detached. The eye is alert. Emotion comes later. With time, the camera becomes an extension of oneself. I am practically unable to look at the world outside the frame of the camera. I am obsessed with the Large Picture. So much so that I would rather not see certain things than see them without a camera. Naturally, the photos I remember best are those I failed to take.”
16. The Maelifell volcano on the edge of the Myrdalsjökull glacier, Iceland
17. Windmills of Banning Pass, near Palm Springs, California, United States
18. Lumber yard in Port-Gentil, Ogooué-Maritime Province, Gabon
19. Palm Jumeirah artificial island, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
“For me, photography is a way to share what I have seen. It also allows me to live the kind of life I want to live. I became an animal photographer to stay in Africa and study the lions. In the early stages at least, photography is the profession you embrace to live on the roads and travel; a camera provides an excellent excuse to take off, leaving responsibilities and ties behind.
I started out without much of a photographic culture and approached the profession as an entrepreneur: I needed to provide ideas, to be methodical in my projects. Technique has always seemed secondary to me. Nowadays, we are all capable of taking good pictures, particularly since auto-focus and digital cameras. It most certainly makes for demystification.
You need talent to ‘see’ – not to press the button. The best shots derive from enlightened amateurism, from the free and open vision of the amateur coupled with careful consideration, for photography demands much distancing. Which takes us back to the old and ongoing debate: is photography a fully-fledged art form, or just a means to testify?”