A friend and colleague directed me to the work of award winning photographer Edward Burtynsky today. His powerful photographs taken on location around the world depict the ruin of man’s industrial development on the landscape. On his website he writes:
Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work. I set course to intersect with a contemporary view of the great ages of man; from stone, to minerals, oil, transportation, silicon, and so on. To make these ideas visible I search for subjects that are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning. Recycling yards, mine tailings, quarries and refineries are all places that are outside of our normal experience, yet we partake of their output on a daily basis.
These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire - a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times.’ -->
I found myself totally absorbed in the detail of the images, simultaneously drawn in and repelled at the same time. Their bleak beauty really depressed me- it’s a world none of us want to see, but it is the world we have created for ourselves, and these photographs represent the hidden price we pay but shun away from. Check out his amazing website: