Since the beginning of recorded history, we know that humans have imagined monsters and strangely shaped creatures that have mysterious powers. When they looked to the skies, they saw shapes and patterns in stars and clouds that then took on anthropomorphic or zoomorphic characteristics in their minds, and thus in our collective mythologies.

With the ready-availability of satellite imagery via Google Earth, we can find ourselves applying the same principles today, looking back at our planet. Argentinian photographer/artist Federico Winer has been doing just that with his longterm project Ultradistancia: Finding the shapes of monsters and mythical creatures (and many other intriguing things) by looking back at Earth from the skies.

Through the God’s-eye view of Google Earth, Winer discovers geographic shapes and geometries that transform cities, peninsulas, neighborhoods and ports into animals and monsters. Some, such as recently constructed island colonies are intentional, others are just strange coincidences. Perhaps more architects, city planners and land artists will take this view-from-the-skies approach into account as they design and build future projects.

—Jim Casper