Edward Burtynsky, Photographer

Let’s talk some more photography, shall we?

You may have heard of him, but I think he is just too good to not feature here on AdLib if you haven’t. Thats what I’m all about, introducing great artists (photographers, mostly) to those who don’t know. The Fox is Black reminded me how much I love this man’s work, so here it is!

Edward Burtynsky is a photographer from Cananda, and he links his early exposure to the sites and images of the General Motors plant in his hometown to the development of his photographic work.

Sounds a lot like photographers here in Philadelphia. Except Burtynsky is one of the only photographers I’ve seen in a while that can make the whole “abandonment” subject work effectively, check out his detroit series.

Prepare for a long artist statement from his site, because it’s just too detailed and good to cut anything out:

“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”


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