Yann Arthus-Bertrand Biography Yann Arthus-Bertrand was born in Paris on March 13, 1946 in a renowned jewellers’ family founded by Claude Arthus-Bertrand and Michel-Ange Marion. His sister Catherine is one of his closest collaborators. He’s been interested in nature and wildlife from an early age. He became a director assistant when he was 17 in 1963, then actor in movies. He played alongside famous actors such as Michèle Morgan in ‘Dis moi qui tuer’ (1965) by Etienne Perier and in ‘OSS 117 prend des vacances’ by Pierre Kalfon (1970).
He gave up the movie industry in 1967 to run the Château de Saint Augustin wildlife park in Château sur Allier (centre of France). He then left the country with his wife Anne when he was 30 (1976) to live in Kenya in the Massai Mara national park. He lived amongst the Massai tribe for 3 years to study the behaviour of a lions’ family and took daily pictures of them during those years.
He thus discovered a new passion for photography and the beauty of landscapes when observed from above in hot air balloons. He understood the power of a picture and how to communicate using this means. He came back to France in 1981, published a photographs book ‘Lions’ in 1983, and became an international journalist, reporter and photographer specialised in documentaries on sports, wildlife and aerial photography for French magazines such as Paris Match and Geo. He photographed ten Paris-Dakar rallies.
Every year he published a book on Rolland Garros, the tennis French open. He also took pictures every year at the Paris International Agricultural Show, and of Dian Fossey and gorillas in Rwanda. He founded the Altitude Agency in 1991, which was the world’s first press agency and images bank specialised in aerial photography (500,000 pictures taken in more than 100 countries by more than 100 photographers).
In 1994 Arthus-Bertrand started a thorough study on the state of the Earth sponsored by UNESCO. Therefore he made a picture inventory of the world’s most beautiful landscapes taken from helicopters and balloons. The book from this project, Earth from Above (‘la Terre vue du ciel’) sold over 3 million copies and was translated into 24 languages.
In 2000, his “Earth from Above” free exhibition was set up on numerous big posters on the gates of Jardins du Luxembourg in Paris. It then travelled worldwide from Lyon to Montreal, to 110 cities and was visited by 120 million people.
On July 1, 2005, he founded the international environmental organisation GoodPlanet, and set up the program Action Carbone to offset his own greenhouse gas emissions generated by his helicopter transports. Since then this program has evolved to help people and companies to reduce and offset their climate impact by funding projects on renewable energies, energy efficiency and reforestation.
Since then, the organisation has been involved in several projects: * School posters: posters are distributed for free in every French school on a different environmental theme each year (sustainable development in 2006, biodiversity in 2007 and energy in 2008). * 6 billion Others: a video exhibition took place in early 2009 at the Grand Palais in Paris. Over 5,000 videos were shown.
They were recorded around the globe showing women and men talking about universal themes such as happiness, sorrow, life, death, love, hatred and so on. * Alive: a photographs exhibition that travels around the world with a text display describing the impact of man on the environment * Good Planet Info: international news website on the environment * Good Planet Junior: some holiday trips in protected areas offered to children to teach them how to preserve the environment * Good Planet Conso: a non profit website to help people adopting a more environmentally-friendly way of life Yann Arthus-Bertrand was made a Knight of the Legion d’Honneur (national order of the legion of honour) and a Knight of the Ordre du Mérite Agricole (national order of agricultural merit).
He was also made Officer of the Ordre National du Mérite (national order of merit) by President Nicolas Sarkozy in June 2008. Moreover he was elected alongside Lucien Clergue at the Académie des Beaux Arts (academy of fine arts). In 2006, he launched a series of documentaries called Vu du ciel (‘seen from above’) for the French public channels. The 5th episode was aired in December 2007 and was about agriculture.
In 2006 he published Algeria from above which he considers as one of his best works so far. This book offers a brand new view on this country. In April 2007 he started directing a movie firstly called Boomerang. He later changed the title into Home. The movie is produced by Luc Besson and financed by the PPR group (a French multinational company).
Yann Arthus-Bertrand intends to show the state of our planet and the challenges humanity faces. Home will be released worldwide on June 5th 2009. It will be shown across the globe in cinemas, television, DVDs and in streaming on the internet (Arthus-Bertrand gave up his author’s rights). The emissions of greenhouse gases produced by the movie’s shooting were offset through Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s organisation GoodPlanet and its ‘Action Carbone’ program.
On March 19, 2008, he was given the Georges Pompidou Award which rewards a cultural personality each year (2006: painter Pierre Soulages, 2005: orchestra conductor William Christie). A few schools have been named after Yann Arthus-Bertrand (primary schools of Cysoing, Noviant-aux-prés, Carentoir and Villaines sous bois, nursery schools of Cairanne and Saint-Aignan de Cramesnil as well as the Radinghem high school specialised in agriculture).
He stated that it was one of the greatest honours he could receive. In 2008, he launched the project called 6 billion others. It is a video exhibition of people across the world answering the same questions.
On April 22, 2009 he was officially designated as the United Nations Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador (UNEP) and received the ‘Earth Champion’ award for his commitment towards the environment and his work on public environmental awareness.
Filmography * 1965 : Dis-moi qui tuer by Étienne Périer : Galland
* 1970 : OSS 117 prend des vacances by Pierre Kalfon : Yann
* 2009 : Home
* Yann Arthus-Bertrand official website
* GoodPlanet organisation website
* The HOME movie official website
Yann Arthus-Bertrand displays his three most recent projects on humanity and our habitat — stunning aerial photographs in his series “The Earth From Above,” personal interviews from around the globe featured in his web project “6 billion Others,” and his soon-to-be-released movie, “Home,” which documents human impact on the environment through breathtaking video.