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Right: Dromedary caravan in the dunes near Nouakchott, Mauritania, as shown in the exhibition catalogue. Above: The exhibition at Raoul Wallenbergs torg in Stockholm.


of the world's population lacks access to improved water supplies

Half of humanity lives on less than
per day

Total world military expenditure:
$798 billion
Total public development assistance:
$53 billion

of human beings consume
of the commercial energy


We see the ever-widening gulf between the “developed” and “undeveloped” semi-spheres of our globe. And we know, instinctively, that the world can be shifted, both economically and spiritually, from where we are now.



Exhibition organized for the Nordic countries by Stine Norden and Søren Rud, Fotoselskabet Jorden, København, Denmark

Sponsored in Sweden by Grand Hõtel Holdings, Institut Français de Stockholm, Bang & Olufsen and Forlaget Jorden


Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s photographs arrive in Stockholm and Oslo and remind us of our obligation to our fellow world citizens

by Jack Yan

Photographs of the exhibition in Stockholm by the author


Booked through United Travel Kilbirnie

ANN ARTHUS-BERTRAND’S famous 'Earth from Above' exhibition arrived in the Nordic countries with a display in the centre of Stockholm on June 1.
   Scheduled to remain at Raoul Wallenbergs Torg till August 31, the exhibition is also being shown at Oslo (until the same date) and will make it to Bergen, Gõteborg and Reykavik, as well as several Danish cities, in 2003.
   The exhibition is worth the walk to the Stockholm waterfront not just for nature lovers—Arthus-Bertrand is amongst that group himself—but for those interested in seeing how a great proportion of this planet's population lives. Arthus-Bertrand photographed slums in South America, tiny towns in the Philippines, rug-makers in the Middle East, crowds on the Ivory Coast; on witnessing the images, one is reminded that people globally share the same emotions and passions—but the context in which we do so varies far too much.
   Perhaps we should not value the material aspects of life in the occident and Arthus-Bertrand's photos remind us of that. But at the same time, most of us cannot easily imagine going without them. We see the ever-widening gulf between the "developed" and "undeveloped" semi-spheres of our globe. And we know, instinctively, that the world can be shifted, both economically and spiritually, from where we are now.
   Arthus-Bertrand's work is moving and impactful; never mind the technical aspects of the Canon equipment and Fuji film, detailed in the catalogue. This is an exhibition that reminds us of our lives and our place in the world, merely a speck through the lens of Arthus-Bertrand, yet with the ability to know injustice and possess a desire to be one with others, regardless of location. The internet generation is only the beginning of such a shift.
   Anne Jankeliowitch at the coordination office for 'Earth from Above' (La Terre vue du Ciel) provides some disturbing statistics: since 1950, the world's population has doubled, while oil consumption has multiplied sevenfold. Since 1900, freshwater consumption has multiplied by six, yet 20 per cent of our fellow citizens do not have drinkable water, 40 per cent lacks access to improved sanitation, 40 per cent is without electricity and 826 million people are underfed. In another 50 years, we'll be joined by another three billion people. If that doesn't upset our current balance, then we are living in a dream world for now and will receive a rude awakening in a decade or so.
   Where, practically, may we start, given that not all of us are active in shaping public policy or politics? Arthus-Bertrand's photos illustrate the ecology of our planet and we must conclude, when we see these untouched images through our own eyes, that our way of life and our consumption patterns are not sustainable over the long term. It is not only our children or grandchildren we need to be concerned about, but fellow human beings on this planet right now. So individual change in the way we live and what we value—honour, not possessions; caring, not money; responsibility, not power—can bring about the sustainable development that we should pursue.
   Sustainable development is a lesson we forgot in the twentieth century. The faces that appear, the natural majesty that has formed, and the ability of the individual to make a change all surface inspirationally from each image.Jack Yan

Jack Yan, based in Stockholm in summer 2002, is founding publisher of Lucire.

Visit Yann Arthus-Bertrand's official site

Visit the web shop and download questionnaires for children, in Swedish and Norwegian, at

Buy the book of the exhibition US edition; UK edition; UK edition sold in Germany


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