Interview with Edward Burtynsky | From the Mundane World: Launch Exhibition of He Art Museum
Highland Valley #8, Teck Cominco, Open Pit Copper Mine, Logan Lake, British Columbia, Canada, Edward Burtynsky, Chromogenic color print，121.9 × 162.6 cm, 2008, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto and Flowers Gallery, Hong Kong & London
Edward Burtynsky: This shoot was one of my most challenging photographic adventures of my career. I rented a dive boat and had 12 divers working with me to create these images. This image was taken at around 60ft underwater, where there is very little light and we had to bring in our own strobe systems. We took over 200 images that would then have to be stitched together to create this high-resolution image. It took us four separate dives, following the tides and the currents, to complete this image.
Pengah Wall #2, Komodo National Park, Indonesia, Edward Burtynsky, Archival Pigment Print, 121.9 × 218.4 cm, 2017, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto and Flowers Gallery, Hong Kong & London
Dandora Landfill #3, Plastics Recycling, Nairobi, Kenya, Edward Burtynsky, Archival Pigment Print,121.9 × 162.6 cm, 2016, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto and Flowers Gallery, Hong Kong & London
It’s always important to me that the viewer has a powerful visual experience exploring the details of the images that I create.
Tanggu Port, Tianjin, China, Edward Burtynsky, Chromogenic Colour Print, 99 × 124.4 cm, 2005, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto and Flowers Gallery, Hong Kong & London
About the Artist
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.
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 Sofia, 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 eight honorary doctorate degrees. 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.