15 Feb

Edward Burtynsky

I recently came across the terrific photography site Lens Culture via Caterina.net. It’s a very informative site and seems to showcase a good variety of photographers from around the world. Each article includes a gallery of images as well as an audio interview with the featured photographer speaking about what they do. I highly recommend it if you want to fill your brain with more things photography-related, and expand your knowledge of modern photographers.

Currently the site features Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky and his latest series of the monumental changes taking place in China and its impact on the environment. His photographs are taken with a large format camera, and his subject matter always deals with industrialization and its effect on our ecosystem. To quote his artist statement, “nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work.”


Photo by Edward Burtynsky. Nickel Tailings No. 34, Sudbury, Ontario 1996

I last saw Burtynsky’s work at his 2004 show, Manufactured Landscapes at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. It was a very powerful show because it captured in minute detail the environmental devastation we humans are wreaking around the globe. The above image is one that has always stuck with me from first viewing, because it contains a terrible beauty. The stunning colours really drew my eye (even more so in the large scale print) while my mind struggled to comprehend the posioning to the land this visual likely indicates.

© Rachael Ashe