In the world of fine art photography Edward Burtynsky is a household name. Since the early 80’s he has set out to create images that work as metaphors for our modern existence, and in doing so, he has become one of Canada’s most respected photographers. Over the years he has been the recipient of three honorary doctorates and has won numerous awards including the esteemed TED Prize in 2005. In 2006 he was named Officer of the Order of Canada, and the following year the documentary Manufactured Landscapes was made about his work.
Since seeing his work at the Prix Pictet in 2008 I’ve been a fan. Recently I discovered that Burtynsky’s own website is a wonderful archive for his projects and it includes an impressive amount of his work in high-resolution images. One could easily loose a large chunk of their day simply gorging over all of the detail in some of these photographs.
The pictures above come from one of Burtynsky’s earliest series entitled Homesteads. Made between 1983 and 1985, the series was photographed in a number of locations including Bingham Valley, Utah; Fort Macleod, Alberta; Upper New York State; Toronto, Ontario; Walkerville, Montana and Browning, Montana and locations in British Columbia. It’s interesting to view Homesteads now in hindsight. It’s one of Burtynsky’s earliest series but it still holds many of the themes and dilemmas that his current practice still holds. These images show a photographer interested in rethinking the landscape and concerned by how industry cuts into our natural world.