Photographer Edward Burtynsky certainly does not shy away from inspired projects. The Canadian lensman has carved a reputation for himself by documenting the manner in which man exploits and redefines his environment. Famous mainly for large-scale photography, his existing body of work has covered topics that include mines, recycling and oil, while always capturing these images from the air. For his newest work, Burtynsky decided to take various pictures of water from above again.
Spread over a five-year duration, Burtynsky visited 10 countries and came up with a collection that puts a spotlight on perhaps our most valuable resource. Called Water, it is the single biggest project and collection to come from Burtynsky.
It will be available on several multimedia formats; will include gallery exhibits, a book that goes by the same title, and a documentary film to be called Watermark, as well as an iPad app. Burtynsky thought to segregate the project into ways that mirror how we use water, controlling it, farming with it, and using it to subsist.
To shoot this collection, Burtynsky took to the air again, using bucket trucks and flying in choppers and airplanes along with his digital Hasselblad camera.
“You have to have a slightly higher point of view; standing on the ground doesn’t really tell you what’s going on,” says Burtynsky of his vantage point for Water. “I was standing back, and I didn’t get into the minutia; I got into the bigger idea, what we do from above and looking at how we shape our landscapes based on water’s availability and what we do to [it] once we redirect it.”
Edward Burtynsky is renowned as one of Canada’s most esteemed photographers. His extraordinary photographs of global industrial landscapes can be found in the collections of over fifty major museums around the globe, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California.
“While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding, and very thirsty civilization, we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways. In this new and powerful role over the planet, we are also capable of engineering our own demise. We have to learn to think more long-term about the consequences of what we are doing, while we are doing it…”
See his images from Water here.