By Katriina Etholén
I have here on my table the latest book by the Toronto based photographer Edward Burtynsky. The scale of the book is impressive – three kilos, 36 by 29 centimetres and 236 pages. But it’s not just the book’s size that is impressive; the theme is vast as well. It was while viewing the wondrous photographs on the walls of the Flowers Gallery in London that I decided that I needed to familiarize myself better with his current Anthropocene project and the book with the same name.
This is not the first time I have explored Burtynsky’s work. I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing him in the spring 2011 in Stockholm, just before the opening the exhibition Burtynsky: Oil in Fotografiska. I wrote two articles about him, one to go together with the oil exhibition and other one describing his large-scale project concentrating on water that he was working on at the time.
Edward Burtynsky is one of Canada’s most significant contemporary photographers. He has won multiple prestigious awards for his work and is known for his large colour photos of man-made landscapes. His projects are deep studies of the subjects, usually lasting several years. He has shown the scars and wounds that man has cut on the earth and completed vast projects on oil and water, the liquids that fuel and sustain our everyday life. His diverse body of work includes mines and quarries – which have followed him from early projects to this latest one – salt pans and ship breaking yards, railcuts and container ports, homesteads, consumerism, recycling and so on. Anthropocene is his thirteenth book and is part of a larger project.
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