Track, Thompson River, British Columbia 1985, Railcuts #8(Red hill, C.N. His quarry work was complete. Inexpensive labor from the countryside, important as it is to China’s growth as a trading nation, is one major facet of its success. Otter Juan/Coronet mine #1, 2007, Edward Burtynsky, Kalgoorlie. Rather, they examine this ancient method of providing one of the most basic elements of our diet; as primitive industry and as abstract two-dimensional human marks upon the landscape. "— Edward Burtynsky, “While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding, and very thirsty civilization, we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways. Today there are over one hundred active quarries around Carrara. It is the largest peacetime evacuation in history. I remember looking at buildings made of stone, and thinking, there has to be an interesting landscape somewhere out there because these stones had to have been taken out of the quarry one block at a time. Foremost in his mind was the Abstract Expressionist treatment of pictorial space as a dense, compressed field evenly spread across the entire surface of a large composition. Water is also often completely absent from the pictures. What went off in my mind was, wouldn’t it be interesting to see where these massive vessels will be taken apart. The images in the China series communicate the enormity of the transition that is taking place there as the country moves increasingly towards a large-scale urbanization and more workers relocate for employment in the manufacturing industries. We can see this clearly in a series of photographs he called Homesteads. Agriculture represents - by far - the largest human activity upon the planet. His images of scarred landscapes -- from mountains of tires to rivers of bright orange waste from a nickel mine -- are eerily pretty yet ugly at the same time. From an aerial vantage point approximately 500 - 800 feet above the ground, Burtynsky photographed this unusual landscape of multi-coloured interlocking rectangles, spanning across the delta. The title Railcuts evokes a sense of direct physical contact with the land. Track, Skihist Provincial Park, British Columbia 1985, Railcuts #4C.N. mass consumerism… and the resulting degradation of our environment intrinsic to the process of making things to keep us happy and fulfilled frightens me. The waste is brought to China via ship, just as much as the new products are being distributed over the world through ships. We need to put our human perspective into these images, and our presence is dwarfed by the spaces we’ve created. He shows us its remote sources, the transformation of desert into water-rich cities, the compromised landscapes of the American Southwest. I think that people are always trying to put a human scale on things. * Extract from Burtynsky’s essay, “Life in the Anthropocene” in the Anthropocene book. We've never stopped taking things from nature. [2] Burtynsky documents, in works that are ambitious in both size and scope, industrial sites, desecrated landscapes, and the … We feel that by describing the problem vividly, by being revelatory and not accusatory, we can help spur a broader conversation about viable solutions. In China, e-waste recycling is, for the most part, not yet a refined industry. The shipyard industry that has long disappeared from the Western World is thriving in China and part of the large manufacturing machine that this country has become. What is at first glance merely a scarred landscape becomes poetic evidence of resources spent, nature transformed as well as realized―or failed―hopes and dreams. The requisite dynamite blasts are regularly set off with no advance warning to workers in the pits. The quarries of southeastern Portugal are often extremely deep. "When I first started photographing industry it was out of a sense of awe at what we as a species were up to. The project’s starting point is the research of the Anthropocene Working Group, an international body of scientists who argue that the Holocene epoch ended around 1950, and that we have officially entered the Anthropocene in recognition of profound and lasting human changes to the Earth’s system. Shortly after Edward Burtynsky made this photograph, lightning struck the tire dump, creating a fire that burned for thirty days. “My earliest understanding of deep time and our relationship to the geological history of the planet came from my passion for being in nature. Source comes from Burtynsky’s journey to British Columbia and Iceland, places where a critical stage in the hydrological cycle takes place: the mountains, containing glaciers and snow. Once the scrap arrives at its destination, workers use their hands and primitive tools to pick apart the junked computers and salvage precious components. Compared with the deep perspective used in works by nineteenth-century photographers who worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway, Burtynsky's viewpoint is close and confrontational. Turn the image Iberia Quarries #3 upside down and there it finally is – the inverted ziggurat that he had so long imagined. Even the act of taking from the earth is natural since we are not outside of nature. There is always an adjacent mosque for prayers by the Muslim workforce. Fertile agricultural lands and important cultural/historic sites will be found submerged under a vast reservoir. I had never seen a dimensional quarry, but I envisioned an inverted cubed architecture on the side of a hill. This beauty has an enormous capital cost. His camera penetrates into entire villages dedicated solely to the recycling of electronic waste, plastics and metals where the painstaking work of sorting is done by hand. In China, e-waste recycling is, for the most part, not yet a refined industry. E-waste is hazardous and its processing is a high-risk endeavor even in state-of-the-art facilities. I began to think about oil itself: as both the source of energy that makes everything possible, and as a source of dread, for its ongoing endangerment of our habitat.I wanted to represent one of the most significant features of this century: the automobile. I wanted to trace the evidence of global thirst and threatened sources. Edward Burtynsky got to Barre for the first time in 1991 as a result of a photographic quest for quarries in Northern Ontario. ... E-waste is hazardous and its processing is a high-risk endeavor even in state-of-the-art facilities. The title evokes images of the self-reliant pioneers of the nineteenth century, a theme that presents itself in images such as Homesteads #30. These pits, with their precipitous walls and profound depths, dictated extreme solutions to the photographer’s fundamental problem of where to stand. I document landscapes that, whether you think of them as beautiful or monstrous, or as some strange combination of the two, are clearly not vistas of an inexhaustible, sustainable world. These yards are like secondary mines. Not only are new cities emerging but immense urban renewal efforts are also underway. To make room for the Three Gorges Dam, approximately 1.13 million people must be relocated and their livelihoods challenged. His view of that historic marble mountain from across the adjacent valley records the closest he ever got. Arguably, we are on the cusp of becoming (if we are not already) the perpetrators of a sixth major extinction event. We know that water systems are tied to energy infrastructure, but also to urban transportation, waste management, public health, telecommunications and a wide variety of other systems ; ... Edward Burtynsky 6. climate change will drive Earth system change through water 7. He shows us its remote sources, the transformation of desert into water-rich cities, the compromised landscapes of the American Southwest. I likened the tenacious trees and pools of water to nature's sentinels awaiting the eventual retreat of man and machine - to begin the slow process of reclamation.”, “Often my approach, the compression of space through light and optics, also yields an ambiguity of scale. Christina Dallimore. The St. Catharines, Ont.-born photographer has spent decades taking bird's-eye-view shots of tailings ponds, sawmills, potash mines, and garbage dumps. In all, Edward Burtynsky made a half dozen Vermont trips to photograph what are thought to be the deepest quarries in the world. In Edward Burtynsky’s Nickel Tailings #34 and 35we see a large river of what seems to be thick orange liquid running through a dark landscape. - Russell Lord - Curator of Photographs - NOMA, When BP’s Deepwater Horizon well began pouring millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in May 2010, Edward Burtynsky traveled to the site to capture the event. In China, e-waste recycling is, for the most part, not yet a refined industry. A nearby quarry suggested as an alternative proved to be a picture-maker’s windfall. John, New Brunswick, Canada, 1999, Highway #1Los Angeles, California, USA, 2003, Nanpu Bridge InterchangeShanghai, China, 2004, Highway #5Los Angeles, California, USA, 2009, Suburbs #1North Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 2007, Industrial ParkNorth Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 2007, Kiss Concert Parking AreaSturgis, South Dakota, USA, 2008, Trucker’s Jamboree #1Walcott, Iowa, USA, 2003, Talladega Speedway #1Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 2009, Bonneville #1Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA, 2008, Fisher Body Plant #1Detroit, Michigan, USA, 2008, Ford’s Highland Park Plant #1, Loading CorridorDetroit, Michigan, USA, 2008, Ford’s Highland Park Plant #2, Assembly Line CorridorDetroit, Michigan, USA, 2008, Packard Plant #1Detroit, Michigan, USA, 2008, Packard Plant #2Detroit, Michigan, USA, 2008, Dana Frame Plant #1Thorold, Ontario, Canada, 2010, Dana Frame Plant #2Thorold, Ontario, Canada, 2010, Dana Frame Plant #4Thorold, Ontario, Canada, 2010, SOCAR Oil Fields #1abBaku, Azerbaijan, 2006, SOCAR Oil Fields #3Baku, Azerbaijan, 2006, SOCAR Oil Fields #9Baku, Azerbaijan, 2006, SOCAR Oil Fields #10Baku, Azerbaijan, 2006, SOCAR Oil Fields #6Baku, Azerbaijan, 2006, Oxford Tire Pile #1Westley, California, USA, 1999, Oxford Tire Pile #5Westley, California, USA, 1999, Oxford Tire Pile #8Westley, California, USA, 1999, Oxford Tire Pile #9abWestley, California, USA, 1999, Burning Tire Pile #1Near Stockton, California, USA, 1999, Sikorsky Helicopter Scrap YardTucson, Arizona, USA, 2006, Mines #22Kennecott Copper Mine, Bingham Valley, Utah 1983, Mines #21Inco - Frood Open Pit Mine, Sudbury, Ontario 1985, Mines #13Inco - Abandoned Mine Shaft Crean Hill Mine, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, 1984, Mines #15Inco Tailings Pond, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, 1985, Mines #19Westar Open Pit Coal Mine. 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