Why EarthArt beats Google
The New York Times' Michael Pollak tried an interesting experiment when he reviewed our Bernhard Edmaier book
In an age when digital technology is changing the notion of authorship in photography, it’s nice to be reassured that certain pictures can’t remade with a simple, computerised fix.
Michael Pollak’s recent review of Bernhard Edmaier book, EarthArt, for the New York Times’ picked up on many of the book’s novel aspects. In his write-up, entitled The Work of Art That We All Inhabit, Pollak notes that “the waters around the Great Barrier Reef are so blue partly because the mangroves on Australia’s east coast hold back the mud in river runoff”, and, drawing from Dr Angelika Jung-Hüttl’s text in our book, glacier ice “is blue when tightly packed and the air bubbles have been mostly squeezed out; hence the ethereal blue of the Franz Josef Glacier on New Zealand’s South Island, where it surrounds a meltwater lake.”
Yet Pollak, who is a staff editor at the paper, also went beyond the book’s covers to research his piece. He contacted Edmaier directly to find out what kind of camera the photographer used (a Hasselblad, with no digital post-production), and, perhaps more interestingly, attempted to find the same views offered in the book via an online satellite photography search.
“In case readers are wondering if they can do just as well finding aerial views like these with Google Satellite,” he writes, “this reviewer tried. Only one or two of the 160 color images, photographs of glacial edges in Iceland, were remotely comparable on Google; the rest could not be found or were washed-out and dull compared with the book’s lavish color and detailed patterns.”
Of course, we delight in Google’s offerings, but it’s reassuring to know, that, in an age of brilliant digital fixes, pioneering work such as that undertaken by Edmaier and his team, truly pays off. Read the full NY Times piece here, and, if you’d like to see the pictures for yourself, buy EarthArt here.