Edward Burtynsky’s photographs present the “disrupted” landscapes; those created by the technology used in the extraction of minerals and energy from the planet, and those changed by the need for extensive delivery systems put in place to move materials for production of goods. The Landscape That We Change included 30 photographic works spanning several of the themes Burtynsky has explored in his career so far. The artist’s vision of photographing these “new landscapes of our time” continues to be realized through his decades-long examination of the environments that humans have changed, not only in Canada but also the United States, Asia, and other countries that have directly or indirectly experienced the impact of the exponential growth of consumer culture. Burtynsky does not seek to position his images into the realm of political polemic. The artist has stated that they “are what they are.” His photographs engage the observer through what the artist refers to as a “duality” in the viewing process. In Burtynsky’s aesthetic interpretation, his images render the subject most often in rich colour, detail, and textural qualities. Simultaneously, the observer is made aware of the devastation and altered state of nature that is portrayed.
Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and curated by Chris Finn