By Maria Popova
THE WORLD AS WE NEVER SEE IT
Ecology. Our collective discourse on the subject ranges from hipster t-shirts to scare tactics by various nonprofit apocalypticists. But rarely are we faced with a gripping eye-opener that uses the beautiful rather than the frightening and ugly to challenge how we think about the future of the planet.
Bulgarian photographer Alexander “Sasho” Ivanov does just that in his stunning 360° BULGARIA exhibition, a collection of breathtaking aerial photographs taken from a paraglider over the course of 8 years.
The project aims to awaken our emotional connection to the environment and remind us what exactly we’re losing as we’re squandering our planet.
The 58-year-old photographer’s inspiration is movingly honest and raw:
I was born here. I grew up here, together with the grasses, the stones, the trees, the rivers and the winds. They taught me who I am, they showed me how to see, hear and feel, but most importantly â€“ what it means to love and be free. This nature is a part of me, a part of my memory of myself.
We find the collection powerfully humbling. The birdseye take reminds us of our own smallness, of what a tiny fraction of the grand natural equation humans are and how full of marvel the world beyond us is — a world we’re slowly losing as we continue to stomp our little feet on every fiber of it.
The message is loud and beautifully clear: it’s time to rise above our petty sense of entitlement and look — really look — at the big picture. Because, unless we do, its magnificent vibrant color will continue to fade into the man-inflicted grayness.
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Published May 23, 2008