Still Learning To See

Seeing from above (and from the ground)

As I’ve often said here, I always manage to sit next to a window when I fly. Even if the sky is cloudy, in my opinion, the view is far better than the movies available on many flights. Our recent flight back from the West Coast was glorious: a clean window ahead of the wing and nearly clear skies the entire way—I was busy seeing and photographing!

I love to see the shapes of the land and puzzle out the forces that have cu, things one can often only imagine walking on the surface.

The 30,000 foot view is also a fascinating one to see people! Where we live, the influence we’ve had on the earth, our relationships to the planet and each other—all enough to keep me glued to the window during the whole flight.

One of my heroes in life is the remarkable young French photographer, JR, who, among his many accomplishments, has created the Inside Out Project. This work of his has changed the face of both photography and the way we see ourselves. His message this week shared a powerful view of the world, as seen from above. I’ll let it speak simply for itself:

Inside:out not a bug splatI hope you will take a few minutes to visit the link to this particular posting and see the rest of the photographs which help us see a scene mostly invisible to us.

There are, of course, many, many issues on our planet where seeing the world and each other through photographs can be a powerful force for positive change. We are, each of us, much more than “bug splats” but how easy it is to forget that when we don’t see each other and the places in which we live.

When we were in California last week, we visited my nephew and his family. He was the first baby I ever remember holding. I was 17 years old. I’ve never forgotten that moment, how vulnerable all life seemed.  Here he is with one of his daughters and his other, dressed (why not!) as a young princess.

Life still seems so vulnerable—either from the airplane window or on the ground.

This entry was published on April 27, 2014 at 11:38 am. It’s filed under John Snell, People, Photograph and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

6 thoughts on “Seeing from above (and from the ground)

  1. Deborah Leu on said:

    What a bountiful and thought-provoking posting. I too like to sit by the window when flying, but find dirty windows more often than not, and flying too high for my camera. Still I love to watch. The Inside Out Project you’ve shared is saddening and encouraging at the same time. I know I’m old as I compare some difficult times in the 60s with now – and find it possible to think of those times as possibly the “good old days.” I need to adopt the positive outlook of my dad – who still believes life has gotten better (for many of us in the US anyway), and that everyday is a good day. And finally, your nephew looks a lot like you, and princess is the rage now. That’s one trend I’m happy I missed with my daughters.

    I enjoy your photos and blog very much – although I don’t always comment, I always look. Hugs to you and L!

    • Thanks, Deb. We can all stand to adopt the kinds of positive attitudes that many of our fellow humans seem to have! Your energies have certainly made a difference to many of us.

  2. Thanks so much, John–I’ve saved the link to the Inside Out Project, and how amazing that he won the $1,000,000 TED award in 2011. His TED talk, one year after starting the project, is inspiring: Your last sentence is so true: “Life still seems so vulnerable—either from the airplane window or on the ground.” Yet still people like JR never give up trying to protect that vulnerability.

    • Yes, his talk is brilliant. So simple, so clearly grounded. He has spend the million bucks so well. I’m contemplating how I might do an Inside Out project here in Montpelier!

  3. John,
    Thanks for sharing. You remind me that beautiful, amazing things are all around me–all I need to do is to take the time to look, possibly with a photographer’s eyes. Good looking kids!.


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