Analysis: Edward Burtinsky Photography

Edward Burtynsky is a world-renown Canadian photographer and artist known for his large-format photographs of industrial landscapes. Burtynsky’s most famous photographs are sweeping views of landscapes altered by industry: mine tailings, quarries, scrap piles. The grand, awe-inspiring beauty of his images is often in tension with the compromised environments they depict. He often positions himself at high vantage points over the landscape using elevated platforms, the natural topography, and more currently helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. His early influences include Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Eadweard Muybridge, and Carleton Watkins.

Grasses   Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, 1981

Before Edward Burtinsky’s breakthrough in photographing sublime landscape spaces were his early landscape studies. They were relatively conventional, lyrical landscape works, usually from close up and with a focus on sensuous detail.

In the above piece, was a simple image of a patch of grass. Burtinsky was looking at the growth of new grass in the old. The direction of its growth creates interesting pattern lines, and the contrast between the new and old grass provides a sort of harmonious balance of colours.

Despite his eventual move to more expansive pictures of the impact human beings have made on landscapes, maturing on his photographic journey, his philosophy in landscape remain unchanged.

“[we] come from nature.…There is an importance to [having] a certain reverence for what nature is because we are connected to it… If we destroy nature, we destroy ourselves.” – Edward Burtinsky

This quote stuck with me like an anchor for most of my landscape pieces in BA2a_1.
Hence, I have come to better appreciate Edward Burtinsky’s works.



An interesting article, interview with Edward Burtinsky, click here.
For more of Edward Burtinsky’s works, click here.


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