Photographer Showcase – Edward Burtynsky

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Edward Burtynsky was born in St. Catharines, Ontario in 1955. He studied at the Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, where he graduated from the Photographic Arts / Media Studies program with a Bachelor of Applied Arts, and at Niagara College, where he obtained a diploma in graphic arts.

His works are housed in over fifty museums worldwide, numerous corporate collections, and books. (Wikipedia)

Edward BurtynskyBurtynsky’s images are intriguing in many ways. He captures the price we pay for our industrialized planet and yet somehow makes it beautiful. That’s what I find so interesting about his work. To find and convey the beauty in a strip mined mountain or a pile of dismantled oil tankers is what really sets Edward Burtynsky among the elite of modern day photographers.

“Burtynsky calls his images ‘a second look at the scale of what we call progress,’ and hopes that [they] acquaint viewers with the ramifications of our lifestyle.” –Washington Post

Here are some examples of his amazing work. Enjoy!

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Make sure and visit Edward Burtynsky’s website at

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40 Responses

  1. Henry says:

    Edward has amazing talent. Thanks for sharing.

  2. @todayinart says:

    These are both beautiful and disturbing at the same time. It is pretty clever how he dances between the two.

  3. Michael Ainsworth says:

    Disturbing? Because of this “over industrialization”, you are able to effectively communicate your thoughts via the internet and probably have roads to drive on and a comfy couch you sit on and watch TV in front of. Hypocrite.

    After all, if a beaver dam is natural, why not a hydro-electric one built by humans?

  4. Michael Ainsworth says:

    Also, great pictures! I see nothing but beauty and human ingenuity in these. Here is hoping that we have a future that harbors to a clean planet, but we obviously could not get there without these technological advancements.

  5. John Davis says:

    Wow, that is pretty scary dude.

  6. Turd says:

    I could have taken these if I had a pocket digital camera and money to spend on travel. Nothing special here.

  7. Ty says:

    Amazing Photos, All I can say is man kicks Butt it makes me proud that we have the ingenuity to construct and produce.

  8. PainfulYetTrue says:

    These photos are great. Granted they do depict something very ugly and disturbing, this is something that can not be avoided anytime soon. Taking pictures of something terrible doesn’t fix it. I want to see the photographer do something more than try to rub it in everyone’s faces that our planet looks so terrible thanks to our over-industrialization.

  9. Nelson says:

    This is how you all get your steel, oil and marble. Neat eh? All plants that deal with raw materials look like that. You haven’t seen the mountains of slag you get from one of those steel plants!

  10. Flumbo says:

    Great photos, wish they were in higher resolution!

  11. Alan says:

    These shots are wild. Keep up the good work.

  12. kyle says:

    You should watch his film Manufactured Landscapes, its a really good film. IMDB:

  13. Daniel says:

    I fail to see the shear talent of taking these photos – yes they are amazing but its what were looking at that invokes that feeling. The actual photos themselves could have been better.

    I do enjoy them tho.

  14. Bryan says:

    Good pics.

    hmm . . .

    Industry haters.

    He needs to not use a camera shoot them.

    And don’t use a computer to send it out.

    People like this make no sense at all.

  15. Moe says:

    Yeah, and now everyone wants to smother the entire countryside with 400 foot industrial wind turbines by the thousands. So what has changed?

  16. Comet Arcade says:

    Wow, at first look, I thought the first photo is actually a drawing.
    I like the mountains of tires.

  17. Dane says:

    Wow, Michael Ainsworth. I wish I was as blissfully ignorant… And yes, I know I’ll be called a hypocrite for using the internet, but soon I’ll be living on a farm in New Zealand, or Madagascar, and I won’t have to see horrors like these. Simpler living FTW!

    Well done with the photos, though.

  18. Adam says:

    Humans … the cancer of the Earth.

  19. Mitch says:

    Michael Ainsworth said it best. Including the “great pictures” part.
    If you value human life, the quality of human life, and the providing of food, clothing, shelter, energy, as much as possible to as many as possible, you have to acknowledge the legitimacy of sacrificing lower levels of creation (mineral, vegetable, and animal) for the higher level, human beings worldwide. What then, let people starve, use cold and/or dirty water and have no heat just so that other people can have a nicer view of the environment? That’s where environmentalism is wrong. All else being equal clean the air the water, protect species..etc… But if all else is not equal and it becomes a choice of humans vs animals, plants, or rocks I’m proud to side with human beings, even at the risk of not being politically correct. Don’t be PC on someone else’s dime!

  20. Tara says:

    These photos are magnificent. While industry is a science on it’s own that has helped humans develop technologically, these photos also show an unfortunate evil. It is possible to admire/utilize our current technology AND be aware of the cost without being a hypocrite. It is just called awareness and responsibilty. The photos portray the world inbetween. The oil slick is my particular favorite, resembles the colors of red rock country…

  21. bk says:

    They are very cool photos, and places most of us expert commenters have never been before, so are unlikely to have ever seen. So thank you for exposing us to them(no pun).

    If there is a pro-environment message, or anti-evironmental-destruction message, its a little unclear. Some of the ugliest industries, entangled pipes, evacuated earth, etc contain the answers to environmental protection. We need a story to go with each of these photos.

    When people look at these photos and call them proof of environmental destruction, they should have a story too….or shut up.

  22. Anon says:


    You, my friend, are one scary person and I wish you well.

    It is not hypocrisy to know the result of our lifestyle. Ignorance is the real crime.

    These photos are great. We need more like them.

    Keep up the fight.

  23. Andrew says:

    I would have liked to see some captions/descriptions. Amazing pictures. Makes me want to learn more about these locations.

  24. andrew says:

    excellent photos but none of factory farms?

  25. Ali says:

    Wow, fantastic. Half of the time I have no idea what the substances and the stuff oozing out of the other stuff is.

    Great pictures, thanks for sharing.

  26. Joe says:

    The first picture is a Dam in China that will provide alternative energy replacing coal and other fossil fuels… PURE EVIL

  27. Hinh anh dep says:

    Amazing works!!!Thank for sharing.

  28. Greg Specht says:

    People like the Mitch and Michael puzzle me to no end. They don’t seem to grasp simple mathematics. Don’t they realize none of this existed 100 years ago? Its the scale and the accelerating increase in the consumption that is terrifying. They are completely oblivious to the fact that we depend on the natural world for food, water, and air. We’ve bloated our population to 7 billion and still growing exponentially. We’re heading for a collapse where billions will starve and die. They say they “side with humans” They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

  29. Tarun Tripathi says:

    @mitch – greg i think said it best. I read your post with horror. Really. horror. you sondone destroying all other life for us to consume and excrete? wow.

    … i am having trouble finding the words (unbelievably). Run, mental zero, run! but where you going to run to?

    Jonas salk i think it was said it best – Remove all insects from the planet and all life will die in 50 years. Remove all humans, and in 50 years, all life will flourish.

    please, really. think about it.

    pics were… ok, actually :)

  30. whitey says:

    @ mitch: so the end always justifies the means? what a psycho

  31. Jared says:

    These scaled-down images do not do his work justice. In real life these prints are gigantic, and what seems like a beautiful composition from far away has details that you can really lose yourself in when close up.

    It seems to me also that the artist is ambivalent in his meaning. clearly they are images of nature destroyed, but I also see an attraction to the beauty of the new structures, and a sense of wonder at the scale of our infrastructure.

  32. Deepu Sugathan says:

    I am sad how people still think that all this mess was created for a ‘better’ life. If it was a better life, why aren’t we slowing down. The best measure of ‘better’ is our happiness. There is no evidence to show that we are more happier than ever. Most of the people that are more happier are those who leave all these ‘better’ things (distractions) behind.

  33. John Cassidy says:

    Fantastic set of images capturing industry on an industrial scale

  34. L Ballaam says:

    Nice shots one of the hardest things to do with a camera is to convey awesome scale, seems to have got over that hurdle with ease!

  35. Dave says:

    I never leave comment on the internet, but here I’m compelled to.

    Michael Ainsworth… beaver dam?… you’re taking the piss aren’t you mate?

    Some severe backlash against Mitch there, and while everyone is entitled to an opinion, unfortunately Mitch, yours is massively misguided (I’m screaming that by the way). The world is massively over populated and resources are finite… a simpleton could understand that. And while on the surface it seems that Greg’s view is quite pessimistic I think it’s the actually the cold, hard face of reality, we are in a lot of trouble people. Governments are corrupt and doing nothing while the majority of the world rolls along in blissful ignorance.

    Thanks Tara, well put.

    In case my opinion is unclear (or even matters)… these pictures horrify me.

  36. roger says:

    Just hope we all make it through this “suicidal genocide” we have created!

    All of you have made excellent comments.

  37. design says:

    I fail to see the "over-" part of any of these.
    Would that desert have been greener without those oil pumps?
    Would those holes in the ground somehow be better-off if they hadnt had rocks carved out of them?
    Would the ground over that dock have gotten more sunlight if nobody had come along and artificially extended the land then built a dock over it?

  38. Garreth says:

    I get Michael Ainsworth’s position (though not the haughty tone of his observation). However, I fail to see how these photographs are mutually exclusive of a belief in the power and industry of man. Are they comments on the terrible beauty that is industry? Sure. But they don’t necessarily drive us to abandon all human technological advances. They simply call us to be more aware of the unintended consequences our consumption and production create. As harbingers, then, these photographs as well as those of others in this ilk, like Chris Jordan, call upon us to change or modify our practices, to think more creatively and critically about how to eliminate these consequences. I’m not saying we can have our cake and eat it, too, but certainly, there’s definitely a sense that we can do better than this.

  39. ohgetfukt says:

    ainsworth and mitch are arseholes. also their argument is crap. by their logic they find beauty in abbatoirs.
    just crawl off and exist alone in dark places, cretins

  40. Jen Weiss says:

    This is just amazing photos Edward Burtynsky is great inspiration for many photographers, thanks for the post, Jen

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