Begin your day with some perspective.
From the canola flower fields in Luoping County, China, to the Port of Hamburg that looks like a Mondrian painting, to a heart-shaped island in Croatia, Daily Overview’s founder Ben Grant has been delighting his readers with stunning images of the earth from above.
Grant was inspired by the so-called “overview effect,” (video), a term coined by author Frank White to refer to the dramatic, perspective-shifting sensation astronauts experience when observing the Earth from orbit.
The vision from outer space, both euphoric and sobering, is said to spark a cognitive shift in awareness. “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,” Grant explains on his website.
The Daily Overview aims to generate this transformational phenomenon for the greater public. Grant’s astounding, even miraculous images allow us to see exotic, faraway terrain as well as familiar sites with brand new eyes.
This is a highway interchange:
This one too:
These are trucks filled with oranges:
And this is a bus terminal:
Illuminating world events
Since he embarked on the one-man passion project in December 2013, Grant, a brand strategist living in New York City who has no formal training in photography, has published over 500 stunning images. He works with high-resolution files taken by the satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe, which he color-corrects to enhance the details.
Grant describes the act of preparing and annotating the photos for Daily Overview as a form of daily meditation. Published through a newsletter and social media channels, each image is hand-picked by Grant every single day—well almost.
“If you subscribed last week, you may have noticed a gap,” Grant explains to Quartz. He was traveling in China and the internet was somewhat spotty, he says.
But instead of scheduling the posts in advance, he tries to be thoughtful about the timeliness of his posts and maintain control of the moment of publication, Grant explains. This sometimes allows the images to illuminate news stories and world events as they happen. After the devastating earthquake in Nepal, for example, Grant’s image helped provide context to the unfolding tragedy.
Perspective is the goal, not surveillance
But is everything on the face of the planet available for viewing? In a climate when many are concerned about reclaiming personal privacy, and governments worry about security, Grant’s omniscient vantage point may raise concerns about surveillance and safety. “It’s a question I get a lot,” he says.
Grant says the Daily Overview doesn’t seek to expose anyone’s secrets, but rather to offer a broader perspective on the planet, and rouse ecological consciousness. “The project is really about inspiring people to be curious and to ask questions about the world,” he says. “We hope you will go beyond the aesthetics, contemplate just exactly what it is that you’re seeing, and consider what that means for our planet.”
Grant currently is working on a book version, Daily Overview, which is scheduled to be published next year. You can follow Grant’s progress and the Daily Overview on Instagram, Facebook or Tumblr or subscribe to his newsletter.