If an image does not transmit sensations it is an empty image. An image lacking in emotions. Without soul. Yann Arthus-Bertrand (Paris, 1946) shows that capturing the soul of mankind from above if possible.
Getting away from reality is good for perspective. But getting too far can make us lose ourselves in the immensity and lose the focus of what we want to understand. Yann Arthus-Bertrand takes us away from the earth to get closer to it. A difficult exercise that the photographer and French naturalist has dominated for decades.
The aerial images of Arthus-Bertand are shocking because they are much more than aerial images. We all know how easy it is to lift a camera. And with the drones of today, more so. That’s why the Arthus-Bertrand images are magical. He could be hours staring at them trapped by his magnetism. They are images that have the vocation of joining the Earth as a common space: Nature, men, animals. In short, the Earth and all its inhabitants without distinguishing one from another.
It is said that one of the most difficult moments for a painter is knowing how to decide the moment in which to give the last stroke. Know when the picture is finished. An extra brushstroke can ruin all the work. In the case of Arthus-Bertand is not only to decide the message, but to transmit it. Know how to find, for example, the right height. Neither too low nor too high. Not too slow or too fast … Neither too strong nor too weak. The “citius, altius, fortius” of Baron Pierre de Coubertin applied to the aerial image.
Reporters Without Borders celebrates 25 years of its collection “100 Photos for Press Freedom” with the edition of an album dedicated to the work of Yann Arthus-Bertand with 100 photographs that portray the Earth and its inhabitants.
The album includes unpublished texts from large firms that enhance the work of Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Among them are Jean Malaurie, Specialist Naturalist of the Great North, Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Program, David Mangin, urban architect, Olivier de Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Priscila Telmon, Photographer, travel writer, film director and member of the Society of French explorers.