Water – Edward Burtynsky

One of my favorite photographers, and a Canadian, eh?

“While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding, and very thirsty civilization, we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways. In this new and powerful role over the planet, we are also capable of engineering our own demise. We have to learn to think more long-term about the consequences of what we are doing, while we are doing it. My hope is that these pictures will stimulate a process of thinking about something essential to our survival; something we often take for granted—until it’s gone.”

“The project takes us over gouged landscapes, fractal patterned delta regions, ominously coloured biomorphic shapes, rigid and rectilinear stepwells, massive circular pivot irrigation plots, aquaculture and social, cultural and ritual gatherings. Water is intermittently introduced as a victim, a partner, a protagonist, a lure, a source, an end, a threat and a pleasure. Water is also often completely absent from the pictures. Burtynsky instead focusses on the visual and physical effects of the lack of water, giving its absence an even more powerful presence.” – Russell Lord – Curator of Photographs – NOMA

Photograph of a tailing pond in Alberta, Canada

Alberta Oil Sands #14 Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, 2007


Photograph of water bursting out a dam in China

Xiaolangdi Dam #1 Yellow River, Henan Province, China, 2011


Pivot Irrigation  Suburb South of yuma az

Pivot Irrigation / Suburb South of Yuma, Arizona, USA, 2011


Pivot Irrigation #11 High Plains Texas Pandhandle

Pivot Irrigation #11 High Plains, Texas Panhandle, USA, 2011

Dryland Farming #2, Photograph,EdwardBurtynsky

Dryland Farming #21 Monegros County, Aragon, Spain, 2010


phosphor Taling ponds ,Polk County florida

Phosphor Tailings Ponds #3 Polk County, Florida, USA, 2012


Navajo Reservation  Suburb Phoenix Az

Navajo Reservation / Suburb Phoenix, Arizona, USA, 2011


BENIDORM, beach, people,water,Spain

Benidorm #1Spain, 2010

Burtynsky is perhaps the most important photographer working in the world today.

Edward Burtynsky


One response to “Water – Edward Burtynsky

  1. The dryland farming photo in Spain recalls to mind my experience of seeing Jean Dubuffet’s constructions in the museum of modern art, paris in 1966. I think as a species we are incapable of acting on awareness of what is going on around us at any given time – far easier to blindly accept what is because it is the line of least resistance and more comfortable familiarity. To change behaviour is most challenging and requires commitment. Burtinsky is a brilliant photographer of a dying homeland with all the symptoms on clear display, much like a medical illustrator would document. Too bad aesthetization of discomfort is such a reality of our life-time. That and the abstraction which distances us all from direct experience. Too much mediation, for me. G

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