Earth from Above
There are twelve chapter headings in Earth from Above. April, for example, is given over to biodiversity; August, renewable energy; October, abolishing poverty.
Each day has its own photograph, all taken from above (glider, helicopter, airplane). All are gorgeous, some very strange. April 4 is the Viaduct at Millau, France (Fig. 1), which, the text tells us, draws as many visitors as Mont-Saint-Michel. April 12 takes us to Djibouti to view the salt workers at Lake Assai. April 28 shows the mountains of Bard-e Amir, Afghanistan.
August 30th is a shot looking right down on three farmers, two mules and a horse, plowing a field near Zamora, Mexico. September 6 offers the snows of Kilimanjaro, only, now, there are no snows. Since Hemingway's time, the snow-cap has been diminished by 80%. The reason: angry spirits. Maybe. Or, more possibly: global warming.
This is no travel-book dream-stuff. September 14 pictures the garbage dump in Bouches-du-Rhône, France. July 20 is a stock-yard near Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. The text tells of the waste of raising cattle for food: "A rational evolution towards a more balanced diet, richer in vegetables and fruit, would be beneficial both for the planet and for its inhabitants."
There are few of these photographs that are not interesting, if not outstanding. One is led to believe that Arthus-Bertrand could take a picture of dog-stool in Burbank or a drunk throwing up in Hoboken and make it dramatic. See below, for example: barrels of gasoline, colorfully stacked up in Singapore, like Easter eggs.
--- Lolita Lark