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Thursday, February 12, 2004

more than just a pretty book

Earth from Above, a photo book with fantastic shots of manmade and natural phenomena by Yann Arthus-Bertrand is a tour-de-force of images of how we live and how our lives impact the world around us. With informed commentary that explains the photos in environmental and social terms, this tome is more than just a pretty book. The challenges facing our world are "translated from arid fact to alarming image, giving immediate meaning to the statistics that underlie today's environmental headlines; his photographs of the ruins of rural Madagascar, where forests are being cleared at a rate of 1,500 square kilometers (580 square miles) annually, are a sad case in point."

One cannot help but be awed by the beauty of the world and its inhabitants, and alarmed by some of our actions. Some will hopefully be moved to action by the striking images "of stalagmite-like fans of algae spreading into the Mediterranean Sea, farmers working their fields in northern India, or destroyed Iraqi tanks littering the deserts of Kuwait." Others will just enjoy, and perhaps learn from it.

Having this fantastic book at home to pore over is the way to go, but if you need a taste before buying, check out the photographer's web pages.