Manufactured landscapes of Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky
cares about our planet and has an eye for the surreal. His photography reveals nature transformed by industry, aspects of production that are vital to yet rarely witnessed by the general public.

The results of his extensive travel and research are stunning – the serenity of a sunset reflecting in fractured ground, the eerie silhouettes of coal mounds, the eternally halted machines of old industry.

Though the intent is to expose outskirts of our society, images of an altogether other world emerge. Edward gives us glimpses of alien civilizations, some abandoned, some hinting at growth and prosperity. Some of these images are even reminiscent of ancient times and their primitive yet complex structures.

While it’s easy to get lost in all the apocalyptic beauty, Edward Burtynsky’s message remains – we’ve formed landscapes of waste and iron; human progress has given us a world we can no longer recognize. As his video-montage for states, “We’ve changed the world. It’s time to change it again.”

Watch it here.

A special thanks to Larry M. for showing me Burtynsky’s work 

7 Responses to “Manufactured landscapes of Edward Burtynsky”

  1. the daniel Says:

    The Bao Steel photo looks like it belongs in David Lynch’s “Dune”, or something similar – this guy can really tell a story with a photo.
    The Shanghai photo reminds me of what my friend said about her first trip to NYC – that it would have impressed her more if she hadn’t just been to Shanghai :)

  2. Drew Yoon Says:

    these are absolutely gorgeous. aside from being beautiful, they are jam packed with emotion.

    ps. koilhaus 4 lyfe

  3. ampersandpilcrow Says:

    Beautiful, stark and chilling all at the same time. A reminder of how alien humanity’s industrial creations seem.

    I’ve always thought the Chittagong yards are one of the most haunting spots on the planet. With all the supertankers being broken down bit by bit by thousands of workers it seems like an industrial imitation of an ecosystem. Another glimpse can be found here

  4. DJ Velveteen Says:

    That tire pile is really something… looks like some kind of twisted summoning circle.

  5. Zoetica Says:

    WOW! The Brendan Corr images are wonderful, Ampersand. Thank you much for that link.

    Daniel, the Bao Steel photos were some of my favorites – there is a strange inviting serenity in how minimal and monochromatic they are.

    Drew, I think you meant “koilhizouse”.

  6. CFT3 Says:

    Thanks — another great coilhouse call.

    For three years I have marveled at a large format Burtynsky print (Shipbuilding No. 23) several times in the Toronto corporate offices of a client — stunning in person. The installation has no information on the artist, but with your post today I was able to track it down. Now to buy some books and the “Manufactured Landscapes” DVD.

    Have you looked at Richard Misrach’s work?

  7. luckydisease Says:

    i’ve lived in sudbury for about six years and i have never once seen the sites in those photos. what a strange thing to come across in a most unlikely place! yet another reason why i love this site :)