Earth from the Air - the bigger picture

The gardens of The Natural History Museum are currently playing host to a free photographic exhibition, entitled Earth from the Air - A Photographic Portrait of Our Planet, by celebrated French aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

In this special feature, Indielondon's Jack Foley picks out two of his favourite images (and the text which accompanies them) to give readers a greater insight into the delights on show and, hopefully, persuade them to visit...

Brazil. The Corcovado towering over Rio de Janeiro.
Perched on a 704-meter- (2,310-foot-) high rocky peak known as the Corcovado ("the Hunchback"), the statue of Christ the Redeemer dominates the Baia de Guanabara and its famous "Sugar loaf," as well as the whole of the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area. The city's name (River of January) was the result of a mistake by the first Portuguese sailors who cast anchor there in January 1502; they thought they had found the mouth of a river. The capital of Brazil from 1763 to 1960, Rio de Janeiro is now a megalopolis that extends out over 50 kilometers and has a population of over 10 million. The statue of Christ the Redeemer on the Corcovado is a reminder that Brazil is the largest Catholic country in the world, with 121 million baptised. Worldwide, the Catholic Church, with its 1 billion members, is the largest group within Christianity, itself the largest religion in the world with 2 billion followers.


England. Wiltshire. Stonehenge.
In southern England near the city of Salisbury, stands the largest cromlech in Europe. Originally made up of four concentric rings surrounding a horseshoe, the outer three rings no longer stand. The surviving circle is 32 meters (105 feet) across, made up of blocks 7 meters (23 feet) tall and 30 tonnes (33 tons) each. The stones were quarried more than 30 kilometres (20 miles) away and probably brought to the site on wooden rollers. The four arches of the central horseshoe and the pillars of the outer circle are aligned with the rising and setting sun at the summer and winter solstices. Other stones line up with the rising and setting full moon nearest the solstices. The civilisation that built Stonehenge more than 5,000 years ago needed reference points during the year to determine the farming calendar, particularly sowing time. But Alexander Thorn, who measured Stonehenge’s astronomical accuracy, believes this was not its only function, but that it was also used for religious rites of which no trace survives.

All images: ©Yann Arthus-Bertrand
EARTH FROM THE AIR LTD


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