Yann Arthus-Bertrand & Matthieu Ricard



Sharing a common passion and invested interest in humans as a subject matter, photographers Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Matthieu Ricard explore life from a variety of visual perspectives. We made our way to Paris to meet the legendary artists and discuss the value of making their art accessible, their view on photography as an art form and how their collaboration with Yellow Korner allows a wider audience to engage with their work.

Paris-born Arthus-Bertrand has forged a career most notably as an aerial photographer, publishing the extensive and internationally acclaimed work « Earth From Above » in 1999, and subsequently entering the ranks of the Académie des Beaux-Arts (French Academy of Fine Arts) in 2006. 

His photography gracefully frames human life, and the effects this has had on nature, from perspectives unattainable to most. A trained Hot-Air Balloon pilot, Yann’s work spans the globe and although probably most comfortable perched on the edge of his seat in a helicopter, he has recently exhibited both studio photographs of domesticated animals and ‘Human’ a feature length documentary film. Preferring to expose his work outdoors, in public galleries and to sell his works at accessible prices in unlimited editions, the artist explains that to ensure his work is accessible is essential. « I’ve never liked numbering my picture. I’m an activist you know, and doing this work ‘Earth From Above’, exposing the photos on the street or sold at low prices means it can impact more people.» 

His collection ’Celebrating Life’, available online on Yellow Korner’s website, shows a carefully curated cross section of an impressive portfolio spanning decades of dedication to the art.

© Yann Arthus-Bertrand - Blue Lagoon, Islande
Blue Lagoon, près de Grindavik, presqu’île de Reykjanes, Islande (63°53’ N - 22°27’ O). Région volcanique, la péninsule de Reykjanes, en Islande, compte de nombreuses sources chaudes naturelles. Le Blue Lagoon (ou Bláa Lónid) est un lac artificiel alimenté par le surplus des eaux puisées par la centrale géothermique de Svartsengi. La couleur du lagon résulte du mélange minéral de silice et de calcaire du bassin combiné avec la présence d’algues en décomposition. Riches en sels minéraux et en matières organiques, les eaux chaudes (environ 40 °C) du Blue Lagoon sont réputées pour leurs propriétés curatives (maladies de peau). Source d’énergie renouvelable relativement récente, propre et peu coûteuse, la géothermie est de plus en plus exploitée. En 1960, cette source de chaleur ne bénéficiait qu’à 25 % de la population islandaise. Désormais, elle couvre les besoins de chauffage de 87 % des 319 000 Islandais et produit 26 % de l’électricité consommée.

“La vie spirituelle de Matthieu et son appareil de photo ne font qu’un, de là surgissent ces images fugitives et éternelles” 
Henri Carter-Bresson

Matthieu Ricard, born like Yann Arthus-Bertrand in 1946, post-war France, shares a similar ecological spirit, and has invested the last forty-five years in capturing spiritual master and stunning landscapes in Tibet. His life as a practicing monk, translator for the Dalai Lama and as a celebrated molecular scientist, Ricard seeks to show a more hopeful aspect of human nature. «  We completely ignore the banality of goodness » he explains, « I want to show the inner beauty of human beings, to give confidence in human nature, and in nature itself ». Having published a number of books showcasing his art, Matthieu donates 100% of the the profits of his photographic work to a vast number of humanitarian causes, in the hope that the world can open their eyes to daily acts of kindness and human affection.

© Matthieu Ricard - Namo Buddha, Nepal
Monastére Tibétain émergeant des brumes matinales, Namo Buddha. Népal, Janvier 2009