Sometimes, the further you get from something, the closer you feel to it.
Astronauts have described the sensation they experience in seeing planet Earth in its entirety from space as a profound moment that allows them to reflect on Earth's beauty and fragility. The staggering distance brings them improbably more in touch with our interconnectedness on that far-away blue marble in the darkness.
That phenomenon, created by an incredible cosmic perspective, was coined "the Overview Effect" by author and Harvard professor Frank White in 1987. Some have also described it as the "big picture effect."
Benjamin Grant -- fan of all things related to outer space, business consultant and amateur photographer -- founded the image-packed website DailyOverview.com in 2013 to give laymen on the ground the same cognitive shift astronauts experience from hundreds of miles above the Earth.
Grant's aha moment came when he typed the word "Earth" in the search bar of Apple Maps to see if it would zoom out for a full image of Earth. Instead it took him to Earth, Texas and he saw a beautiful image of pivot circles, patterns created in agricultural fields by spinning irrigation sprinklers. It was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.
With the use of pictures from Digital Globe, which provides high-resolution space and satellite imagery, Grant focuses on the places and moments where human activity -- for better or worse -- has shaped the landscape of our planet.
"From our line of sight on the Earth's surface, it's impossible to fully appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the things we've constructed, the sheer complexity of the systems we've developed, or the devastating impact that we've had on our planet," Grant wrote on his site. "We believe that beholding these forces as they shape our Earth is necessary to make progress in understanding who we are as a species, and what is needed to sustain a safe and healthy planet."
Grant has described Daily Overview as "a project started entirely out of passion" -- and that passion has only grown. In addition to daily postings on his site, Grant also shares his curated visual inspirations in an Instagram feed and a Tumblr blog. He funds the project through print sales. The images will soon be seen in upcoming exhibitions in San Francisco and Munich as well as published in a book from Penguin Random House.
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