Yann Arthus Bertrand: Aerial photography

Yann Arthus Bertrand

Yann Arthus Bertrand is one of the world’s leading photographers and videographers, with a body of work that is instantly recognisable and lauded the world over.

The Parisian first made his name as a wildlife photographer during the 1970s, but it is his stunning images from the air that now leave audiences captivated.

Bertrand opened the Altitude Agency in 1991, and the business has gone from strength to strength ever since. As well as showcasing Bertrand’s own images, the agency has access to more than 100,000 aerial photos from more than 100 acclaimed photographers.

Published in 1999, Bertrand’s book Earth from Above remains one of the world’s best loved collections of pictures from the air. Put together over a period of ten years, the publication was supported by the United Nations and features images of some of the planet’s most awe-inspiring vistas.

The book was turned into an eight hour television series in France during 2007, taking Bertrand’s iconic images to a whole new audience.

Bertrand could never be accused of fearing heights. The Frenchman does not seem to mind what method of transport is available as long as it gets him up into the sky, and his images have been captured from hot air balloons and helicopters as well as aeroplanes.

His modus operandi is to get to the story behind the places he visits rather than just taking good looking photos. As well as capturing stunning images of lush green landscapes and golden coasts, Bertand’s collection features memorable birds eye view photos of war zones and areas hit by severe poverty.

Bertrand is also an active environmentalist. During the summer of 2005, he founded the international organisation Good Planet and launched a programme that would offset the CO2 emissions of the planes and helicopters he uses.

The organisation has expanded rapidly in the nine years since and now works closely with a number of leading companies, helping them to reduce their production of greenhouse gases as well as assisting them with environmental projects such as utilising renewable energy resources.

The way that humanity is damaging the environment was highlighted by Bertrand in his seminal 2009 documentary Home. Made entirely from Bertrand’s images, the film shows how forests and other areas of vegetation have changed over time. It also shone a light on areas where people are suffering from disease and a lack of clean water.

More than 400,000 people watched it within 24 hours of its release on the video website YouTube. It has since been translated into several languages and garnered in excess of 32 million views.

Last year, Bertrand opened a photographic studio in his home city of Paris. The studio is open to all and Bertrand hopes visitors will get a better understanding of the stories behind his images.

He is currently working on a new film that will demonstrate the abundance of life that can be found on the Seine river. As well as using a Cineflex camera from a helicopter, he is capturing images using a camera attached to Beneteau boat.

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