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  • Water
    WATER: "While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding, and very thirsty civilization, we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways. In this new and powerful role over the planet, we are also capable of engineering our own demise. We have to learn to think more long-term about the consequences of what we are doing, while we are doing it..."
  • Oil OIL: "...The car that I drove cross-country began to represent not only freedom, but also something much more conflicted. I began to think about oil itself: as both the source of energy that makes everything possible..."
  • Mines MINES: In Burtynsky's images, it is the insatiable human appetite for the world's raw materials that is of primary interest. The tools of manufacturing are sometimes included, but they often function simply as a measure of the immense scale of the scene before us.
  • Quarries QUARRIES: "...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..."
  • China CHINA: "...mass consumerism… and the resulting degradation of our environment intrinsic to the process of making things to keep us happy and fulfilled frightens me. I no longer see my world as delineated by countries..."
  • Shipbreaking SHIPBREAKING: Burtynsky's "Shipbreaking" photographs, like all his works, appear to us as images of the end of time...
  • Urban Mines URBAN MINES: We've never stopped taking things from nature. Even the act of taking from the earth is natural since we are not outside of nature. What is different today is the scale...
  • Tailings TAILINGS: Burtynsky's skill as a photographic colourist is evident in most of his work, but perhaps most strikingly in a group of photographs of nickel tailings near Sudbury, Ontario...
  • Homesteads HOMESTEADS: From the beginning of his career, Burtynsky was attuned to the delicate balance that exists between humans and the environment We can see this clearly in a series of photographs he called "Homesteads..."
  • Railcuts RAILCUTS: Even in his choice of a title for this series, Burtynsky informs us that his photographs do not share an aesthetic agenda with earlier images of the railway. The title "Railcuts" evokes a sense of direct physical contact with the land...
  • Early Landscapes EARLY LANDSCAPES: Burtynsky’s evolving compositional strategies were also informed by a marked desire to explore how the visual properties of modernist painting might be made relevant to colour landscape photography...