Other than a few brief glimpses near airports, few of us ever get to see the Earth from high up in the sky, taking in all of the complex textures and patterns created by nature and human activity. If we could, we might feel more inclined to do all that we could to protect it. This phenomenon, as experienced by astronauts when viewing our small, fragile planet from space, is called the ‘overview effect,’ and it serves as the inspiration behind a series of stunning aerial photographs by Benjamin Grant.
‘Overview: A New Perspective of Earth’ is a new hardcover book full of over 200 aerial images taken of sites all over the world, from industrial areas of South Korea and fields in Ethiopia to planned communities in South Florida. Grant initially started the project as an Instagram series in December 2013, selecting high-resolution satellite photographs that reveal the extent to which we have altered the surface of the planet upon which we live and curating them into a thoughtful, emotional collection.
“What I’m really trying to get across here is that we’ve entered an important time in human history where our home has been significantly altered,” Grant told Wired in a 2015 interview.
Grant searches aerial shots relating to a specific current event or environmental issue to find the ones that have the biggest impact, striking us as visually beautiful even when the imagery depicts tragedy. Some examples include shots of a refugee camp in Kenya, shrinking ice sheets and the choked streets of the world’s most populated cities. Take a look through the feed on DailyOverview.com, or order the book on Amazon.