Toronto photographer Edward Burtynsky, who has made a specialty of capturing the terrible beauty of destruction, was declared the fourth and last winner of the Roloff Beny award at a reception last night at the Royal Ontario Museum. His book, an exhibition catalogue titled Before The Flood, was chosen the best photography book published last year… Burtynsky took home $50,000… [The book contains] the striking images Burtynsky took of the Three Gorges Dam in China, the world’s largest hydroelectric engineering feat, as it was being built. Read more in the Toronto Star.
Edward Burtynsky has an excellent website showing his works and impressive exhibition history. I really like his artist statement:
Exploring the Residual Landscape
Nature transformed through industry is a predominate theme in my work. I set course to intersect with a contemporary view of the great ages of man; from stone, to minerals, oil, transportation, silicon, and so on. To make these ideas visible I search for subjects that are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning. Recycling yards, mine tailings, quarries and refineries are all places that are outside of our normal experience, yet we partake of their output on a daily basis.
These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire – a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times.