Acclaimed Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky (b. 1955) chronicles the human impact on nature in disarmingly beautiful images of natural and industrial landscapes around the globe. Shot from up to 7,000 feet above, Burtynsky’s painterly, often abstract images bring the scale of environmental devastation into perspective.
Burtynsky began photographing nature in the early 1980s. These early works were intimate explorations of Canada’s unspoiled landscapes. By the late 1980s, however, he turned away from the quickly disappearing natural terrain. He realized this was the world that we were losing not the one we were to inherit. Instead, he reflected on his own experience working in the mining and automobile industries. Gradually he began to investigate industrial incursions into land with arresting results.
He is represented in the collections of more than 80 museums worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid; Tate Modern, London; and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
Notable exhibitions include Anthropocene (2018) at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada (international touring exhibition); Water (2013) at the New Orleans Museum of Art and Contemporary Arts Center, Louisiana (international touring exhibition); Oil (2009) at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (five-year international touring show), China (toured 2005 – 2008); Manufactured Landscapes at the National Gallery of Canada (toured 2003 – 2005); and Breaking Ground produced by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (toured 1988 – 1992).
Honors include the inaugural TED Prize, the Governor General’s Award in Visual Media Arts, The Outreach award at the Rencontres d’Arles, the Roloff Beny Book award and the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award. In 2020, Burtynsky was awarded a Royal Photographic Society Honorary Fellowship and in 2022, he was honored with the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award by the World Photography Organization. Most recently he was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and was named the 2022 recipient for the annual Pollution Probe Award. He lives and works in Toronto.