FotoFest, Houston’s biennial art photography fair, bears witness to a planet in peril.

By Michael Agresta
Texas Observer

There’s a moment halfway through Manufactured Landscapes, a 2006 documentary about Edward Burtynsky, when the celebrated Canadian photographer tries to talk his way into an industrial site in Tianjin, China. The smog outside lies thick and foreboding; the media flack seems to sense that it will cast the company in a negative light. “It’s very dirty,” she tells Burtynsky. “I don’t think it’s a good day to make beautiful pictures.” Burtynsky’s translator tries to convince her: “But through his camera lens, through his eyes, it will appear beautiful.”

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