Earth from Above

THE EYE OF THE MALDIVESThe Municipality of Caguas will become the amphitheater for a new photographic exposition entitled "The Earth from Above". The Caguas Plaza, officially known as Recreational Plaza Santiago R. Palmer, will have on display 120 photographs taken by artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand. The project which will be on display from April 20th until the 17th of June was made possible by an initiative by Ruth Lugo and Creative Latino and the sponsorship of the Municiplaity of Caguas, El Nuevo Dia, Triple S, Sistema 102, Liberty Cablevision, and Radio Puerto Rico (740 AM) among many others.

For several years Arthus-Bertrand has circled the planet taking photographs of the dazzling beauty of diverse places with the intention of documenting the most dramatic features on the face of the earth. In addition, the photographs capture some of the impact of man's habitation of the planet. Each image in the exposition is accompanied by a text that explains the significance of the scene as well as the history of how nature created such amazing places.

Chiang Mai, suburban zoneFor example, for the first image included with this post, the text is as follows:

"The Eye of the Maldives is a faro, a coral formation on a rocky base that has sunk, hiding all but a ring-shaped reef that encircles a shallow lagoon. Coral can only form in water of a relatively high temperature, and thus atolls develop principally in intertropical regions. The lowest country in the world, with a high point not exceeding 8.25 feet (2.5 m), the Maldive archipelago contains 26 large atolls, including 1,190 islands, nearly 300 of which are inhabited either permanently or seasonally by tourists. The archipelago was severely hit by the tsunami of December 26, 2004, which killed 83 and injured more than 2,000. The coastlines were altered, and some of the islands sank beneath the sea. The coral reefs were also partially destroyed by the gigantic wave and the debris it carried. As well as affecting the tourist trade, the Maldives’ main economic resource, the damage to the coral food chain has harmed fishing and the livelihoods of the local people. Aware of the archipelago’s fragility, the authorities and the international community had already set up containing measures to limit the rise of the water level, but the barriers around the capital, Male, did not stop the water from getting through."
Lugo revealed that Arthus-Bertrand was worried about the impact man has had on the planet and wanted to articulate in dramatic fashion his concern. As Arthus-Bertrand put it:
“Year 2000 was almost upon us, and I wanted to tackle an ambitious long-term project. Since the lions, nature has been one of my chief concerns, though I was then less committed to sustainable development and more interested in the preservation of exceptional sites. However, working on location soon made me realise that Man cannot be dissociated from the landscape. GraduaIslet in the reservoir in Guri, Venezuelally, I became convinced that supporting the theories on sustainability was the way towards a reasoned form of development.”
The "Earth from Above" project has been seen by more than 60 million people. Lugo also revealed that the project had a budget of around $750,000 dollars. In each exposition, the works are installed in the open and must be freely available to the public.