Photographer Edward Burtynsky chronicles human impact on nature in his disarmingly beautiful images of industrial landscapes around the world. Burtynsky’s painterly, often abstract photographs, frequently shot from an aerial perspective, show the massive scale of environmental devastation. Burtynsky began photographing nature in the early 1980s. His early works were intimate explorations of Canada’s unspoiled landscapes. By the late 1980s, however, he turned away from the quickly disappearing natural terrain, realizing that this was the world we were losing not the one we were to inherit. Instead, he began to investigate industrial incursions into land with arresting results. This image comes from his Water series, a vast body of work begun in 2007 documenting how human interference and consumption are depleting this precious resource.
Edward Burtynsky was recognized with a TED Prize in 2005. In 2006 he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the nation’s highest civilian honors. He holds six honorary doctorate degrees and his distinctions include the National Magazine Award, the MOCCA Award, the Outreach Award at the Rencontres d’Arles and the Applied Arts Magazine Complete Book Photography Award. In 2006, Edward Burtynsky was the subject of the award-winning documentary Manufactured Landscapes, which screened at the Sundance Film Festival. His newest film, Watermark, debuted in 2013.
Edward Burtynsky’s works are in the collections of more than fifty museums worldwide, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; The Photographer’s Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, 1955 | Lives and works in Toronto
Colorado River Delta #2, 2011, chromogenic color print, 60 x 80 inches/152.4 x 203.2 cm
Photograph © 2011 Edward Burtynsky