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The photographer sizing up the planet’s human footprint

By Leslie Hook
Financial Times


The word “ Anthropocene” first entered popular use about 20 years ago as scientists looked for a way to describe a new geologic era, one defined by the impact of humans. Earlier eras have been linked to climatic shifts caused by asteroids or ice ages, but now it is human activity that is reshaping the Earth.

That is the theme that Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has taken for a new project that spans the globe, chronicling natural and unnatural worlds. His focus is on the indelible human fingerprint on the planet — whether in tunnels, dams, mines, forests or megacities.

“These landscapes are human landscapes,” he explains. “We need to own these landscapes, they are ours — they are not some bad corporation’s landscapes — they are our landscapes. There is an urgency for all of us to own the problem.”

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WORLD-RENOWNED PHOTOGRAPHER EDWARD BURTYNSKY TO UNVEIL HIS FIRST AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) INSTALLATION AT PHOTO LONDON MAY 17-20, 2018

LONDON, UK, May 14, 2018, 8:00 a.m. (GMT+1) — World-renowned artist Edward Burtynsky will be unveiling his first Augmented Reality (AR) Installation as part of his special exhibition during Photo London at Somerset House in London, UK, May 17-20, 2018 where he is being honoured as this year’s Master of Photography. 

The AR Installation, AR #1, Scrap Engine and Rims, Agbogbloshie Recycling Yards, Accra, Ghana 2017, invites visitors to explore the recycling of automotive machine parts from a scrap yard in Accra, Ghana in three dimensions. Made up of over 4,000 images seamlessly stitched together, the piece virtually recreates these objects within the exhibition space. Burtynsky's embracing of AR technology is a natural extension of his 40-year exploration of human systems and their impact on the planet.

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