Yann Arthus-Bertrand has always had a passion for the natural environment and at the age of 20, he settled in central France and became the director of a nature reserve.
When he was 30, he travelled to Kenya, Africa, with his wife to carry out a three-year study on the behaviour of lions in the Maasai Mara reserve. He quickly started using a camera as a visual aid to capture his observations and enhance the written reports they compiled. While in Africa, he earned his living as a hot-air balloon pilot. This was when he really discovered the earth from above and the advantages of viewing what he was studying from afar to gain an overall picture of an area and its resources. And in 1991, he founded the world’s first aerial photography agency.
In 1992, Yann decided to prepare a big project for the year 2000 on the state of the planet. Called ‘The Earth From the Air’, the resulting book was a great success and over 3 million copies were sold. The outdoor exhibitions have been seen so far by about 200 Million people. In 2003, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of The Royal Photographic Society, and the French government also made him Officer of the Ordre National du Mérite. He was also given the Georges Pompidou Award. He is a recipient of the Knight of the Légion d'honneur and the ‘Earth Champion’ award among other accolades.
Yann then created the Goodplanet Foundation that aims to raise public awareness of environmental issues, implement carbon offset programmes and fight deforestation with local NGOs. Due to this involvement, he is today considered more an environmentalist and activist than a photographer. It is because of this commitment that Yann Arthus-Bertrand was designated Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme on Earth Day (April 22, 2009).
In 2012, Yann began filming his next feature film called ‘Human’ which comprised of interviews with people from all conditions in over 45 countries, and aerial images gleaned all over the world. Filming has taken place in very diverse landscapes since June 2012. This year, from January 2014, Yann has filmed in Thailand, Antarctica, Dubai, Brazil, Pakistan, Cuba and Japan. The film will be available in 2015 and the preview will take place at the United Nations headquarters, New York, USA, in the presence of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s Keynote am digitalEVENT: