Sea-ing from above and below

Sea-ing from above and below
A photo of Ipanema beach in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, taken by aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is among the photos displayed at the Planet Ocean Exhibition at Gardens by the Bay, the Colonnade, from 8 May to 28 June 2015, as part of Voilah! 2015, a festival to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and France. The exhibition is organised by an NGO set up by Mr Arthus-Bertrand called GoodPlanet Foundation, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues.

Some of the most spectacular pictures of the planet are taken from the skies by aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

But while filming the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina in the US in 2005, his helicopter crashed.

In a question-and-answer session with website TEDBlog, Mr Arthus-Bertrand, now 69, recalled the harrowing crash.

He said: "When the helicopter was spiralling downward out of control, I didn't expect to survive at all."

But both he and his pilot fell through the roof of a flooded house and survived.

The ordeal did not deter him from his photography. He has continued to take beautiful pictures, some of which are now on display in Singapore.

The Planet Ocean Exhibition shows 32 of the renowned photographer's works, as part of Voilah! 2015.

It is a festival to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and France.

The exhibition is organised by an NGO set up by Mr Arthus-Bertrand called GoodPlanet Foundation, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues.

The pictures at the exhibition were taken when Mr Arthus-Bertrand was filming his documentary Planet Ocean, with co-director Michael Pitiot in 2012.

AWARD-WINNING

Mr Arthus-Bertrand has won many awards for his nature photography, including the prestigious Cherry Kearton Medal awarded by the UK's Royal Geographical Society in 2013.

Mr Eric Boisteaux, who has worked with Mr Arthus-Bertrand for eight years, is the exhibitions manager for the showcase.

He told The New Paper over the phone last Friday: "We hope the exhibition will show people the rich biodiversity of the ocean, and educate them of the problems surrounding our seas, such as pollution and over fishing."

Another 38 photographs in the exhibition are by American photojournalist Brian Skerry, who works for National Geographic.

A marine photographer like Mr Skerry would have to carry 10 to 20kg of equipment when shooting underwater, said Mr Boisteaux.

Like Mr Arthus-Bertand, Mr Skerry's photos portray the plight of the oceans.

A poignant photo (right) by Mr Skerry shows a small yellow fish looking forlorn, trapped inside a metal can. The can was likely to have been discarded from a popular Japanese beach nearby, highlighting the problem of pollution in the area.

Another picture captures the image of a "crucified" shark entangled in a fishing net.

Mr Boisteaux stressed the importance of protecting our oceans, and cites a regional problem.

"The shark could have been purposely captured for its fin, as shark's fin soup is very popular in Asia," he said.

He added that awareness and knowledge of such environmental issues is needed.

He said: "We know the surface of the moon better than we know the bottoms of our oceans."


This article was first published on May 11, 2015.
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