Edward Burtynsky is a Canadian photographer and artist known for his large-format photographs of nature transformed through industry and his investigation into our continually compromised environment.
His most recent project Salt Pans conveys both the sublime aesthetic qualities of the industrialised landscape and the unsettling reality of depleting resources on the planet, through a series of geometric compositions photographed from the air above the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, India. It is also the subject of a new book published by Steidl.
Often shot from an aerial perspective, the photographs in Burtynsky’s major project Water take on a unique abstraction and painterly quality. Many of the images focus our attention not on water itself, but on the systems that humans have put in place in order to harness, shape and commodify it. Water follows the format of previous projects such as Oil, China and Quarries in its encyclopaedic exploration of a broad theme through a series of connected chapters or locations.
Edward Burtynsky's works are in the collections of over fifty museums worldwide, including: Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim, New York; Tate Modern, London; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofa, Madrid and the National Gallery of Canada. Burtynsky is the subject of Jennifer Baichwal's 2006 documentary Manufactured Landscapes. In 2014 the pair collaborated on a second film Watermark. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a terraforming element and the scale of its reach, as well as the magnitude of our need and use. Burtynsky received the inaugural TED Prize in 2005, in 2006, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 2012 he won the Tiffany Mark award. He holds four honorary doctorate degrees (two additional forthcoming in 2013). His distinctions also include the National Magazine Award, MOCCA award, Outreach Award at Rencontres d'Arles, ICP Infinity Award and the Kraszna Krausz Book Award.