Artful Musing

ARTFUL BLOGGER: The beautiful, frightening world of Ed Burtynsky

Let’s hope that when the end of the world comes, Ed Burtynsky will still be around with his camera to make the hellfire and brimstone look pretty and less scary.

Edward Burtynsky, SOCAR Oil Fields #3, Baku, Azerbaijan, 2006. Chromogenic color print. Photograph © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto / Howard Greenberg & Bryce Wolkowitz, New York.

Burtynsky is one of Canada’s most celebrated art photographers. He is a favourite of the National Gallery of Canada and top art venues abroad. He has won prestigious awards. Chances are, you can’t afford to buy one of his prints.

This photographer found fame shooting places most of us try to avoid: Toxic waste ponds, garbage dumps, abandoned quarries and, as we see with his newly opened exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Nature, everything to do with oil. We see oil being pumped out of the ground, refined and used by all kinds of vehicles. We also see the polluting graveyards of all those vehicles that burned oil.

Burtynsky’s images simultaneously repel and attract. He leaves us feeling guilty for admiring the brilliant sheen on some turquoise or scarlet pond that would kill any living thing that tries to taste those polluted waters. (more…)