Planet in Peril Photography Prompt: Looking from Above


Today I'm excited to pass over the Fly on the Wall blog to marketing intern, Bozhidar, who has a photography prompt to get you inspired in the final weeks of the Planet in Peril competition!

We usually look at the world through our own perspective – which is around a few feet above the ground, depending on our height. This is great when it comes to looking at things around us and living our daily lives. However, this perspective only works if we believe we are the centre of the world, when in reality, we are only specks on the surrounding environment, which is much bigger than what we see with our own two eyes. In order to get a better picture at what our world really look like, we need a change in perspective.

The Overview Effect is a phenomenon experienced by astronauts, as they leave the Earth’s atmosphere and see our planet from hundreds of miles above. It is a unique and profound experience, with a life-changing effect: astronaut Scott Kelly says that after seeing the Earth from space, he “[got] this feeling that we just need to work better — much, much better — to solve our common problems." This perspective can inspire humility and a sense of solidarity and timelessness: borders disappear, and the blues of the oceans, the greens of the continents, and the whites of the clouds take over. “It looks like we are all part of one spaceship,” Scott Kelly said, “Spaceship Earth”.


Boats floating in Yuba County, California (credit https://www.instagram.com/dailyoverview/)

Of course, very few of us will realistically get the chance to see Earth from space, but the message of this celestial perspective is clear: Earth is still the realm of nature, not people. Inspired by the Overview effect, Benjamin Grant has created the Daily Overview (http://www.dailyoverview.com/), a photography project which takes a bird’s eye view of our world, revealing the marks, and sometimes scars, people have left on the surface of Earth.


Colourful tulip fields in Lisse, Netherlands (credit https://www.instagram.com/dailyoverview/)

The change we create on our environment can sometimes be seen only through this altered perspective. Both the sprawling web of highways our metropolises rely on, and the plastic coffee cups we walk past on our way to work, reveal things about our impact on the environment. Pointing the camera forward limits us to our human perspective, which may be useful for walking or driving, but fails to show us the bigger picture, which can only be seen by pointing the camera down.

Regardless of whether it’s on the edge of our stratosphere or a just a few feet above the ground, a change in perspective can show us secrets about our nature and confirm that humanity is just a blimp on the radar, surrounded by the vast expanses of nature.

If this photography prompt has inspired you, check out the Planet in Peril competition here! We look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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