Canadian, born 1955
For four decades Edward Burtynsky has explored through diverse photographic projects the complex global intersection of industrial growth and environmental impact. Edward Burtynsky’s color photographs document the many facets of landscape as it is transformed through human industry. Exquisitely detailed and exactingly rendered, his images strike an intricate balance between a somber reportage and a powerfully seductive aesthetic, reflecting the dilemma between society’s desire for prosperity and its impact on the environment.
Burtynsky’s photographs are included in the collections of over 80 major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, the Tate Modern in London, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California.
Exhibitions include Anthropocene (2018) at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada (international touring exhibition); Water (2013) at the New Orleans Museum of Art & Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, Louisiana (international touring exhibition); Oil (2009) at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. (five-year international touring show), China (toured 2005 – 2008); Manufactured Landscapes at the National Gallery of Canada (touring from 2003 – 2005); and Breaking Ground produced by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (touring from 1988 – 1992). Burtynsky’s visually compelling works are currently being exhibited in solo and group exhibitions around the globe.
Born in St. Catharines, Ontario in 1955, Edward Burtynsky received his Bachelor of Applied Arts in Photography and Media Studies from Ryerson University in 1982. Burtynsky is a recipient of the 2004 TED Prize honoring individuals who have shown they can positively impact life in a global context, as well as the ICP Infinity Award for Art (2008), the Rogers Best Documentary Film Award (2006), The Outreach Award at the Rencontres d’Arles (2004), and the Roloff Beny Book Award (2003). In 2006 he was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of Canada and in 2008 he was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for Art. In 2018 Burtynsky was named Photo London’s Master of Photography and the Mosaic Institute’s Peace Patron. In 2019 he was the recipient of the Arts & Letters Award at the Canadian Association of New York’s annual Maple Leaf Ball and the 2019 Lucie Award for Achievement in Documentary Photography. In 2020 he was awarded a Royal Photographic Society Honorary Fellowship (2020) and in 2022 was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award by the World Photography Organization. Most recently he was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and was named the 2022 recipient for the annual Pollution Probe Award.
Edward Burtynsky’s latest African Studies series, produced between 2015 – 2019, focuses on Sub-Sahara Africa’s complex and ever-changing landscape. A new monograph of the same title was published by Steidl in 2022. Of the work Burtynsky comments, “While evolving my use of aerial perspective, in these recent photographs I am surveying two very distinct aspects of the landscape; that of the earth as something intact, undisturbed yet implicitly vulnerable… and that of the earth as opened up by the systematic extraction of resources… The vastness and beauty of the wilderness in these countries was something of a revelation and also provided a contrapuntal balance to a lengthy exposition of heavily industrialized landscapes, agriculture and urban development.”