(Canadian, b.1955) is a photographer best known for his images of nature altered by industry. Born in Ontario, he grew up near a General Motors plant, an experience that sparked his interest in photographing industries such as oil production
, and quarrying
. Burtynsky studied photography at Ryerson University, and cites photographers such as Ansel Adams
(American, 1902–1984), Edward Weston
(American, 1886–1958), and Eadweard Muybridge
(American/British, 1830–1904) as early influences.
Burtynsky’s signature technique involves using a large format field camera and elevated platforms to capture sweeping views in fine detail. His series of Mines
(1991), and Australia
(2007) evoke a feeling of attraction and repulsion, and serve as reminders of the consequences of modern day consumption and transportation. In the early 2000s, Burtynsky traveled to China to document urban industry, including the development of the world’s largest hydroelectric dam, the Three Gorges Dam
. In his most recent series, Water
(2010), Burtynsky took aerial shots of the oil spill
in the Gulf of Mexico. Burtynsky received the TED Prize and the Outreach award at Les Rencontres d’Arles in 2004. In 2006, he was awarded the title Officer of the Order of Canada. He has held solo exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the National Gallery of Canada, among other institutions. His work is currently held in several museum collections, including the Bibliotèque Nationale in Paris, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He lives and works in Toronto.