Eye Candy

The Real Unrealness of the Overview Effect

by Benjamin Grant

Brondby, Haveby. All photos courtesy of Daily Overview.

We are thrilled to introduce Benjamin Grant, traveler and founder of Daily Overview, a curatorial project featuring incredible satellite images all over the globe. Here, he shares his philosophy, mission, and several of his favorite photos from the series.

Can you explain the impetus for the project?

Daily Overview was inspired, and derives its name, from this idea known as the Overview Effect. This term refers to the sensation astronauts in outer space have when given the opportunity to look down and view the Earth as a whole, floating in a sea of darkness. They have the chance to appreciate our home in its entirety, to reflect on its beauty and its fragility all at once. That's the cognitive shift that we hope to inspire with this daily dose of fresh perspective.

I hope that the unusual perspective, mesmerizing flatness, or the vibrant colors of these photos capture our audience's attention. However, once we have that attention, I believe there's truly an opportunity to change the way people see the world. If we can get people to go beyond the aesthetics, contemplate just exactly what it is that they're seeing, and consider what that means for our planet, then I believe the project has effectively gotten its message across.

How did you choose the images?

At the outset of the project, I decided that the photos would primarily only be of the areas where humans — for better or worse — have impacted the landscape. Accordingly, every Overview begins with a thought experiment. We consider the places where man has left his mark on the planet and then conduct the necessary research to identify the locations (and the corresponding geo-coordinates) that convey that idea.

Where do you get your photos from?

I reached out to DigitalGlobe (a site that provides satellite images) about a year ago to make they sure they were okay with me running their pictures for Daily Overview. They have been nothing but supportive of our efforts and now we have a great partnership in place that enables us to create and sell prints using their images.


For a new angle on the world, check out these mind-blowing images.

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