Other name (s) Course Edward Burtynsky Edward Burtynsky is one of the most famous Canadian photographers who received international recognition for his immense contributions in the field of industrial landscape photography…
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The current debates regarding global environmental conservation and sustainable living have substantially drawn inspiration and encouragement from Burtynsky’s images and photographs. After being awarded TED prize in 2005, one of his important wishes was the establishment of an environmental conservation website that will help young children to learn and develop the habit of going green at their tender age (TED, 2).This paper discusses the life of Edward Burtynsky, as well as his contributions to industrial landscape photography. Burtynsky was born in 1955 in Ontario, Canada. His parents were immigrants from Ukraine and at the age of 11, his father bought cameras and a dark room for making largely black and white photographic prints. He studied photography and graphic arts in his hometown and first attained a diploma in graphic arts at Niagra College before graduating with a degree in photographic arts at Ryerson University. Burtynsky’s interest in landscape photography was particularly inspired by his childhood experiences such as exposure to the areas around the General Motors plant where his father worked (Burntynsky 4). He consequently developed a strong passion for global industrial landscape and began to explore most parts of industrial world to identify and photograph some of the unique industrial and manufacturing landscapes. With the recent technological advancements and industrial development, nature has significantly transformed and this is the central theme of Burtynsky’s works. The photographic works of Burtynsky have been exhibited both in solo, as well as in numerous group exhibitions across several parts of the United States, Canada, Asia and Europe. Additionally, some of his famous prints are currently housed in corporate, public, as well as in private collections in several parts of the world. The major museums that exhibit Burtynsky’s works include the Canadian National Gallery, Guggenheim museum in New York and Bibliotheque Museum in Paris (Koch 2). Generally throughout his career as an artist, Burtynsky was awarded several fellowships and awards. Most of the famous artistic works were photographic images of landscapes that had been altered by industrial development. For example, some of the sites depicted in the photographs included quarry sites, mine tailings and scrap piles. The beauty of Burtynsky’s photographs was particularly achieved through the contrast and tension created by depicting compromised environments. He also toured several parts of the world, including China, to photograph some of the landscapes that had been altered by industrial development and construction industry such as the Three Gorges Dam. The success of Burtynsky’s artistic photography was largely as a result of the numerous experiences he accumulated that ranged from ranged from exposure to various images and sites to photographic work development. As a result, his photographic imagery explored a the intimate link between industry and nature by combining the various elements of manufacturing, mining, quarrying, oil production, shipping, as well as water recycling. Most of these places provided unique scenery which depicted beauty and a sense of humanity which significantly contrasted with the expectations of the viewers. The images and landscape photographs of Edward Burtynsky were diverse and mostly ranged from altered landscapes due to industrial activity, mountains, mining sites and rivers. These landscapes are often regarded as ugly and
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