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Manufactured Landscapes: The Work of Edward Burtynsky

Posted on March 19, 2008

Manufactured LandscapesWhen Manufactured Landscapes came up as a suggested film on Netflix I was immediately intrigued. What was this film about I wondered. So I took a look at the description and found that it was a documentary that focused on the work of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky.

Burtynsky has been photographing what he calls “manufactured landscapes” for over twenty years and his work is, quite frankly, breathtaking.

It all started with a missed direction on the highway that landed Burtynsky at a strip mining operation. This got him thinking of not only what a great photograph the mine would make but also about the harm we were doing to the planet. It was then that he set off to document, through fantastic photographs, what we as humans have done and are doing to our home.

What is great about Burtynsky though is the fact that his photographs don’t hammer you over the head with their environmental message. It is a very subtle message that you begin to realize only after looking at the photographs for a while. At first the photos simply look like interesting pieces of art but then, all of a sudden, you realize what you are really looking at and you have to take a step back and think.

If you’re not sure a whole film about Burtynsky’s work is for you I would suggest checking out his TED talk. I think you’ll be captivated by it and by his work.

Looking at a massive pile of tires or a sea of used electronics through the lens of Edward Burtynsky really makes you think about our impact on this planet. I hope you will check out the movie, Burtynsky’s work and his TED talk because I believe it will open your eyes.


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