Edward Burtynsky (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, mining, 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 (1983), Quarries (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.

Timeline

1955
Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
1974–1976
Diploma, Graphic Arts, Niagara College, Welland, Ontario
1982
BAA Photographic Arts (Media Studies Program), Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario
1985
Founded Toronto Images Works
2004
Recipient: TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Prize, Monterey, Canada
2004
Recipient: Outreach Award, Les Recontres d’Arles, France
2004
Recipient: Roloff Beny Photography Book Award for Before the Flood, Ontario, Canada
Lives and Works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Exhibitions

2013
Burtynsky: Oil, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada (solo)
2013
Nature Transformed: Edward Burtynsky's Vermont Quarry Photographs in Context, Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, Vermont, USA (solo)
2013
Landmark: The Fields of Photography, Somerset House, London, U.K.
2012
Subverted, Ivory Press, Madrid, Spain
2012
Burtynsky: Oil, The Photographer's Gallery, London, England
2012
Burtynsky: Oil, Taubman Museum, Roanoke, VA
2012
Burtynsky: Oil, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
2012
Burtynsky: Oil, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winterpark, FL
2012
Edward Burtynsky: The Industrial Sublime, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN
2012
Edward Burtynsky: The Industrial Sublime, University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie, WY
2012
Nature Transformed: Edward Burtynsky's Vermont Quarry Photographs in Context, Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA (solo)
2011
Burtynsky: Oil, Ryerson University in association with the Institute for Contemporary Culture, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario
2011
Burtynsky: Oil, Fotografiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
2011
Burtynsky: Oil, Altana Kulturstiftung, Bad Homburg, Germany
2011
Edward Burtynsky: L'Uomo e la Terra. Luci e Ombre, Centro Culturale di Milano, Milan, Italy
2011
Burtynsky: Oil, McCord Museum, Montréal, Quebec
2011
Edward Burtynsky: The Industrial Sublime, (touring exhibition), Shaw Gallery, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah.
2010
Edward Burtynsky: Min(d)ing the Landscape, Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania
2010
Australian Minescapes, Sovereign Hill Gold Museum, Ballarat, Australia
2010
Australian Minescapes, Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane, Australia
2010
Gulf Oil Spill and Pentimento, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2010
Edward Burtynsky, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Hong Kong, China
2010
Burtynsky: Oil, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
2010
Gulf Oil Spill, Art 45, Montreal, Canada
2010
Edward Burtynsky: Making and Breaking, Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
2010
Burtynsky: Oil, The Rooms - Provincial Art Gallery, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
2010
Edward Burtynsky: Oil, Galeria Arnés Röpke, Madrid (solo)
2009
Burtynsky: Oil, Corcoran Gallery / Museum of Art, Washington, D.C. (solo)
2009
Damaged Romanticism: A Mirror of Modern Emotion, Blaffer Gallery, Art Museum of the University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
2009
Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery, New York, NY
2009
Burtynsky: Oil, Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2009
Burtynsky: Oil, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2009
Burtynsky: Oil, Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery, New York, NY
2009
Australia - Edward Burtynsky, Art45, Montreal, Canada
2009
Burtynsky Australian Mines, Flowers East Gallery, London, U.K.
2009
Burtynsky Australian Mines, Gallerie Stefan Röpke, Cologne, Germany
2009
Edward Burtynsky: Quarries, Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, U.K.,
2009
The Residual Landscapes, The Whyte Museum of Canadian Rockies, Banff, Canada (solo)
2009
Edward Burtynsky: An Uneasy Beauty – Photographs of Western Canada, Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey (solo)
2009
Auto. Materia y Sueño, Laboral centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón, Spain
2009
Auto. Materia y Sueño, Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Móstoles, Spain
2009
Una fábrica, una máquina, un cuerpo…Arqueología y memoria de los espacios industriales, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo de México, Ciudad de México, 2009
2009
Una fábrica, una máquina, un cuerpo…Arqueología y memoria de los espacios industriales, Centre d’Art La Panera, Lleida
2009
Damaged Romanticism: A Mirror of Modern Emotion, Blaffer Gallery, Toronto
2008
Burtynsky Photographs, Gemeentemuseum Helmond, Helmond, Netherlands (solo)
2008
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Winston Salem, NC (solo)
2008
Imaging a Shattering Earth: Contemporary Photography and the Environmental Debate,
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA
2008
Eastern Standard: Western Artists in China, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA
2008
Territories, 6th International Biennial of Photography and Visual Arts, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Liege, Belgium
2008
Twice Removed, Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2008
Variable Capital, Blue Coat Gallery, Liverpool U.K.
2008
Material World, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada (solo)
2008
New Quarries, Galeria Toni Tapies, Barcelona, Spain (solo)
2008
Australian Minescapes, Western Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle, Australia (solo)
2008
In Pursuit of Progress, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Canada (solo)
2008
New Quarries, Flowers East Gallery, London, UK (solo)
2008
Moving Walls, Open Society Institute, Washington, D.C.
2008
Moving Walls, Open Society Institute, New York, NY
2008
A History of Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, U.K.
2008
Ingenuity: Photography and Engineering, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium
2008
The Tropics, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin, Germany
2008
SESC Pauista, San Paulo, Brazil
2008
Oi Futuro Media Art Center, Rio de Janiero, Brazil
2008
Three Gorges, Minnesota Center for Photography, Minneapolis, Minnesota, MN
2007
Construir, habitar, desocupar. Prácticas del espacio, Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea, Donostia-San Sebastián
2007
Imaging a Shattering Earth, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia
2007
Et voilà le travail!, Galerie d’Art du Conseil General des Bounches-du-Rhône, Aix-en-Provence
2007
Canadian Photographers, Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image, Nice
2007
Edward Burtynsky – In the Pursuit of Progress, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Presentation House, Vancouver, B.C. (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Samek Art Gallery, Lewisburg, PA (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky – In the Pursuit of Progress, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Presentation House, Vancouver, B.C. (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Samek Art Gallery, Lewisburg, PA (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky – In the Pursuit of Progress, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Presentation House, Vancouver, B.C. (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Samek Art Gallery, Lewisburg, PA(solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA (solo)
2007
New Quarries, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Canada (solo)
2007
New Quarries, Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2007
Manufactures Landscapes, Gemeentemuseum Helmond, Helmond, Netherlands (solo)
2007
Burtynsky Photographs, Gemeentemuseum Helmond, Helmond, Netherlands (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky: Photographs, Canadien Cultural Institute, Paris, France (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Boca Ratón Art Museum, Boca Raton , FL(solo)
2007
Burtynsky: Quarries, Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
2007
Burtynsky: China, Center Koldo Mitxelena, San Sebastian, Spain (solo)
2007
Burtynsky Photographs, Gemeentemuseum Helmond, Netherlands (solo)
2007
Manufactured Landscapes, Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, France (solo)
2007
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, University of Oregon, Oregon (solo)
2006
China, Galeria Toni Tàpies, Barcelona, Spain (solo)
2006
Photo España, Centro Cultural de la Villa, Madrid, Spain (solo)
2006
Fabryka Krajobrazu: Manufactured Landscapes, Yours Gallery, Warsaw, Poland (solo)
2006
New China works, ART45, Montreal, Quebec (solo)
2006
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina (solo)
2006
Edward Burtynsky: Quarries, Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary, Alberta, Candada (solo)
2006
Manufactured Landscapes, Yours Gallery, Warsaw, Poland (solo)
2006
Edward Burtynsky / China Foto Month of photography, Palace of Art, Bratislava, Slovakia (solo)
2006
Edward Burtynsky: Eight China Works, The Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston, MA (solo)
2006
PhotoEspana Centro Cultural de la Villa, Madrid, Spain
2006
Fabryka Krajobrazu/Manufactured Landscapes Yours Gallery, Warsaw, Poland
2006
Edward Burtynsky: China Palace of Art, Bratislawa, Slovakia
2006
China, Galeria Toni Tàpies, Barcelona, Spain (solo)
2006
The China Series, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL (solo)
2006
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (solo)
2006
Edward Burtynsky: China’s Industrial Revolution, Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary, Alberta (solo)
2006
China, Galeria Toni Tàpies, Barcelona, Spain (solo)
2006
The China Series, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL(solo)
2006
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (solo)
2006
Edward Burtynsky: China’s Industrial Revolution, Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (solo)
2006
China, Galeria Toni Tàpies, Barcelona, Spain (solo)
2006
The China Series, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL (solo)
2006
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (solo)
2006
Edward Burtynsky: China’s Industrial Revolution, Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary, Alberta (solo)
2006
Whose Nature? What’s Nature?, Sun Valley Center of the Arts, Ketchum, ID
2006
C on Cities, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
2006
Imaging Asia in Documents, 1st Photo Biennale, Daegu, Korea
2006
Allphabet City Festival 2006, Toronto, Canada
2006
The photographic document: Aspects & Transformations, Photography Museum of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
2006
Contemporary Landscapes: Crossing Boundaries, McColl Center for Visual Arts, Charlotte, NC
2006
Made in China: Work, Machineries and Automation in the Arts of 1900, Palazzo Ducale, Genoa, Italy
2006
Madre Tierra, Photoespaña 2006, Centro Cultural de la Villa, Madrid, Spain
2006
Imaging a Shattering Earth, Museum of Conteporary Canadian Art, Contact Photo Festival, Toronto, Canada
2006
Faking Death: Canadian Art Photography and the Canadian Imagination, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
2005
Edward Burtynsky: China, Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2005
Edward Burtynsky: The Edmonton Art Gallery Gift, Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
2005
Fundacion BBK, Bilbao, Spain
2005
Edward Burtynsky: China, Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco; Charles Cowles Gallery, New York; Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto; Flowers East Gallery, London, UK
2005
Edward Burtynsky: The China Series, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
2005
Torch Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2005
Edward Burtynsky, Herron Gallery, Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis, IN, ISA
2005
Oil Fields, Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary, Alberta
2003–2005
Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky—organized by The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Japan
2004
Image Smugglers in a Free Territory, 26th São Paulo Biennial, Brasil
2004
Edward Burtynsky, Flowers Central
2004
Edward Burtynsky at Reuban Alexander, UK
2004
Works for Wycombe Square
2004
Spiritus Mundi, Flowers East
2004
Flowers West at Keller & GreenKeller & Green
2004
Asian Quarries, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2003
Landmarks Oakville Galleries, Centennial Square, Oakville, Ontario
2003
Edward Burtynsky: Mid-Career Retrospective, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Finnish Museum of Photography at Cable Factory, Helsinki, Finland, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, and The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York, The Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, California, Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University, California
2003
Before the Flood, Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, California, Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto, Ontario and Flowers Gallery, London
2002
Eight Large Photographs, Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
2002
Shipbreaking II, Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2002
Rajasthan New Work, Flowers Central, London, England
2002
New Acquisitions / New Work / New Directions 3: Contemporary Selections, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
2002
Altered States: Landscape Transformation in the Wake of Progress, University Art Gallery, UC San Diego, CA
2001
This is North America/Is this North America?, Fine Arts Center Galleries, Univ. of Rhode Island Kingston, RI
2001
Shipbreaking, Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
2001
Edward Burtynsky: Shipbreaking, Robert Koch Gallery San Francisco
2000
Oil Refineries, Mira Goddard Gallery Toronto, Ontario
2000
Edward Burtynsky Photographs, McMaster Museum of Art Hamilton, Ontario
1999
Art & Architecture, Mira Godard Gallery Toronto, Ontario
1999
Virgin Land, Nassauisher Kunstverein Weisbaden, Germany
1999
The Sudbury Basin: Industrial Topographies, The Art Gallery of Sudbury Sudbury, Ontario
1998
On the Nature of Landscape, Mt. Holyoke College Art Museum South Hadley, MA
1998
Urban Mines, Mira Goddard Gallery Toronto, Ontario
1998
In the Wake of Progress: Quarries, Tailings & Urban Mines, Paul Kuhn Fine Arts Calgary, Alberta
1997
The Big Picture, Albright Knox Gallery Buffalo, NY
1996
Before the Land Behind the Camera, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography Ottawa, Ontario
1995
Quarries, Laurence Miller Gallery, New York, NY
1993
The Stone Quarries, Mira Godard Gallery Toronto, Ontario
1992
Beau: A Reflection on Beauty of Nature in Photography, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography Ottawa, Ontario
1991
Tainted Prospects: Photographers and the Compromised Environment, Castellani Art Museum Lewiston, NY
1990
The Landscape: Eight Canadian Photographers, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario. Curated by David Barbour. Traveling exhibition: Le Mois de la Photo, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
1988
Breaking Ground-—organized by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa. Traveling exhibition: Alberni Valley Museum, Port Alberni, British Columbia; Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery, Victoria, British Columbia; Cambridge Public Library and Art Gallery, Cambridge, Ontario; Lacham Gallery, Stouffville, Ontario; Galerie d’Art de Matane, Matane, Quebec; The Gallery/Stratford, Stratford, Ontario; Alberta College of Art Gallery, Calgary, Alberta; Biblioteque Municipale de Mont-Joli, Mont-Joli, Quebec; Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies Banff, Alberta; Cedarbrae District Library, Scarborough, Ontario; Floating Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Toronto Photographers Workshop, Toronto, Ontario; Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario.
1987
Mines and Railcuts, Laurence Miller Gallery New York, NY

Public Collections

San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, Ca
Scottsdale Museum of Contempoary Art, Linhart Collection, Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.A.
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Saint Louis Museum of Art, St. Louis, MO
Thessaloniki Museum of Art, Thessaloniki, Greece
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England, U.K.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, North York, Ontario
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, MA
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, Spain
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles, CA
Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa, Ontario
Gemeentemuseum Helmonds, The Netherlands
Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, MI
London Museum, London, Ontario
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Literature

2007
Edward Burtynsky: Quarries, Essays by Michael Mitchell. Göttingen, Germany: Stiedl
2005
Sansom, Anna, The Beauty of Progress: Edward Burtynsky's widescreen Industrial Visions, November 2005, Spoon, U.K.
2005
Meyers, William, An Artist in Awe of His Surroundings, October 13 2005, New York Sun, Arts & Letters
2005
Baker, Kenneth, As Nature Bleeds, Edward Burtynsky get the Big Picture, July 6 2005, San Francisco Chronicle
2005
Knight, Christopher, His Aim is True, May 25 2005, Los Angeles Times
2005
Dixon, guy, A Warning From the Wastelands, April 7 2005, Globe and Mail, Review R1 - R3
2005
Goddard, Peter, Terror in Progress, October 1 2005, Toronto Star
2005
Harris, Jeff, The Reinvention of China, February 24 2005, Maclean's
2005
Roderick, Daffyd, Made in Canada: Frame of Work September 19 2005, Arts & Culture, Time (Canadian Edition)
2005
Milroy, Sarah, Burtynsky's view of China Rising, October 15 2005, Globe and Mail, Review, R5
2004
Regimbald, Manon, Les Ruines Des Burtynsky, November-December 2004, Spirale
2003
Before the Flood. Essay by Gary Michael Dault
2003
Pauli, Lori. Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky. Essays by Mark Haworth-Booth and Kenneth Baker. Ottawa, Canada: National Gallery of Canada, in association with Yale University Press, New Haven and London
2001
Edward Burtynsky: Ten Years. Essay by Mark Mayer
2001
Torosian, Michael. Residual Landscapes: Studies of Industrial Transfiguration. Toronto: Lumiere Press
1994
Quarries: Edward Burtynsky. Essay by Michael Mitchell