Edward Burtynsky

1955 -

Edward Burtynsky is Canada’s most successful photographer, as well as a noted filmmaker, entrepreneur, and environmental advocate. He became known internationally for his large-scale images documenting the process and consequences of using the earth’s natural resources. These images, which at times approach abstraction, present a bizarre tension between beauty and desecration. Many of Burtynsky’s works portray astonishing aerial views, presented with a degree of detail normally unavailable to the human eye. His series depicting quarries in Vermont in the early 1990s launched his career. These images of cracked, fragmented, abandoned terrains appear not dissimilar to Riopelle paintings realized in rich whites and grays, with stabs of vibrant green. While each image is a document of environmental exploitation, overall Burtynsky’s work exhibits incredible formal diversity with a rich palette and texture. Burtynsky’s work can be found in the permanent collections of countless museums, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Guggenheim, TATE Modern (London), and MoMA, to mention a few. He received a TED Prize in 2005 for producing images that “powerfully alter the way we think about the world and our place in it.”

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