From recycling yards and quarries, to oceans, tailings (mine dumps) and oil spills, his lens captures those parts of the world that are directly affected by our modern excesses. But we don’t normally get to see the side he shows us, till it is too late; till we are faced with the destruction of, or the extinction of something we consider essential to our everyday existence.
Taken from helicopters and planes, these images are stunning and we can’t help but face the reality that our unending wants today, could leave us sorely wanting in the years to come.
All of the above, we’ve done ourselves. Whether we should be proud or ashamed, only time will tell.
In an ironic moment while accepting his 2005 TED Prize, Burtynsky actually thanks the ‘Corporations’, that have allowed him to access the various sites he has photographed. Without their permission he wouldn’t have been able to take many of these images. Burtynsky admits that we do need these Corporations in many ways, but the key is to find sustainable ways to negotiate our growing need for technological advancement and resources. As he says – there’s no harm in wanting a nice house and a nice car, but there are consequences to be faced.