Edward Burtynsky is a Canadian photographer who has illuminated the way industry alters and re-forms natural landscapes. Through his striking photographs of the extraction and use of water, minerals, stone, and oil, Burtynsky reveals the “scale of human impact on our environment and the resources re-shaped and exhausted by our consumption.” Burtynsky latest show will open September 18 at Berkeley’s David Brower Center. Below is the show to-be-released curator’s statement:
“Art/Act: Edward Burtynsky features images of the majestic yet dire landscapes that have resulted from the extraction and use of our natural resources. The exhibition primarily focuses on his powerful series, Water. In Water, aerial photos offer expansive vantage points rendering topographies as delicate abstract patterns. Upon closer inspection, the images reveal once abundant water sources as devastated environments. The body of work includes images of the Colorado River Delta in Mexico, Shasta Lake Reservoir and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Reservation, in addition to images from Spain, China, and The Netherlands. On this timely series Burtynsky writes “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.”
Oil Fields #2Belridge, California, USA, 2003
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Reservation/Suburb, Scottsdale. If you look really hard, you can see where this Arizona city ends and the sovereign tribe’s community begins.
Nickel Tailings #30. Oxidized, lava-looking metals color a mining operation’s tailings pond in Sudbury, Ontario.
Xiaolangdi Dam #2. Muddy water explodes from the 505-foot-tall dam on the Yellow River in Henan Province, China.
Rock of Ages #1. Workers cut marble at the E.L. Smith Quarry in Barre, Vermont, thought to be the “largest and deepest dimension granite quarry in the world.”
Marine Aquaculture #2. A sprawling aquafarming encampment floats over Luoyuan Bay in Fujian Province, China.
Carrara Marble Quarries #12. Huge blocks of semicut stone line the walls of a marble mine in Carrara, Italy, near where Michelangelo sourced the material for his David. Roughly 1,000 miners remove some 1 million tons of marble from the area each year.
Colorado River Delta #8. This delta in Baja, Mexico, is severely dried out due to upstream diversion of the Colorado River.
Polders, Grootschermer, The Netherlands. Lines of polders and dikes scour the Dutch countryside.
Shasta Lake Reservoir, Northern California. The Western drought and human demands have taken their toll on Shasta, which provides northern California communities with municipal and agricultural water.