Edward Burtynsky

Published February 26, 2010 by Molly




Who knew that abandoned mine shafts and uranium tailings could be so appealing? Canada’s Edward Burtynsky has been taking photographs of mine tailings, scrap piles, quarries, homesteads, metal recycling yards and ships for years in an effort to examine the links between industry and nature. Burtynsky photographs, in his own words, subjects that are “rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning”; places that are outside the normal realm of experience but of whose products we partake of daily.

Burtynsky’s mission (and his status as intrepid documentarian) have an epic quality that is matched by the photos themselves, which have an emotive power evident even when shrunken and presented in JPEG form on a laptop screen. See? He’s sort of like the Cormac McCarthy of photography.

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3 comments so far

  1. nssk says:

    Burtynsky is fantastic. The art gallery at my university was lucky enough to display his photographs from China. He came to talk about his work, and was nice enough to do a second session after seeing how many people came out to hear him. To hear him explain his inspiration and the background stories of his photographs was very interesting.

  2. Patrick says:

    The movie is interesting as well. It addresses quite well the humanity absent from his frames.

  3. Mary says:

    I just can’t get over these pictures are so beautiful. The colors and the expression are amazing!