Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Edward Burtynsky

The Canadian photographer, Edward Burtynsky, instantly became one of my most favourite photographers the moment I stumbled across his book 'Oil' on Amazon. One day I do hope I can adorn my bookshelf with it, but for now I have to make do with my glaring computer screen.

Burtynsky manages to marry huge, expansive landscapes that reach as far as the horizon, in hand with the head-shaking concept of man transforming nature, I say 'head-shaking' as Burtynsky's photo lens is glaringly pointed at the industrialisation of nature. Burtynsky's main focus has been the capturing of the replacement of natural beauty, the man-made, hideous landscapes that are pock-marked by fuel-gorging contraptions, gargantuan steel buildings and the discarded waste that's left along the way. His images albeit pinpoint the destructive nature of man towards earth and the perpetual greed of its resources, they do emit their own kind of mechanical and lamentable beauty.

More images and information after the jump...

A helicopter scrap yard (click image to enlarge)

A huge tyre pile that looks like a whirlpool - horrifying. (click to enlarge)

An active quarry in Vermont, it's difficult to grasp a sense of scale of this image. It's just sooo vast. (click to enlarge)

Edward Burtynsky was the subject of a documentary in 2007 entitled 'Manufactured Landscapes', you can read up on it here and you can buy it here, it won several awards, most notably it was nominated for the Grand Jury award at the Sundance film festival.

Here's a Youtube clip, the image quality isn't up to scratch, but it's interesting....

For Burtynsky's prize-winning book 'Oil' the curator of an exhibition of it made this neat little video which is also quite interesting....

Edward Burtynsky: Oil from Corcoran Gallery of Art on Vimeo.

Head over to his website to see his astounding and astonishing body of work. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Head Over There.


  1. Yer i like his work... been mentioned a hell of a lot at uni. My friend is doing a project about waste and she was able to get to a dump in the dorset area because her dad works there..... it must be good pay because i got a lift home from him and his had a brand new sport was like getting a lift home with donald trump!! anywho... yeh his work is growing on me!! i like landscape and his is some of the most extroadinary that i have seen!! goodo!!

  2. What was it that you didn't take to in the first place? Just landscape photography in general or the concept?

    Also, in what context is he mentioned? Are there any peers of Burtynsky worth mentioning?