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Edward Burtynsky  Toronto, ON, Canada

* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.

About Edward

Edward Burtynsky was born in 1955 of Ukrainian heritage. He holds a BA in applied arts and photography from Ryerson University and is one of Canada’s most highly acclaimed photographers.

Burtynsky links the development of his photographic work to his early contact with the General Motors plant in his hometown in Ontario. His photographs explore the intricate links between industry and nature. They search for beauty and humanity in processes such as mining, quarrying, manufacturing, shipping, and so forth.

In 1985, Burtynsky founded Toronto Image Works, a darkroom rental facility, custom photo laboratory, digital imaging and new media computer-training center that caters to all levels of Toronto’s art community. He also sits on the board of directors of Contact, Toronto’s international photography festival, and The Ryerson Gallery and Research Center.

His work is included in the collections of over fifty museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, Bibliotèque Nationale in Paris, Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum in New York, and Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.

Recommended by our guest curators

Elisa Carmichael

Editor, tasj magazine

"The summer 2012 issue of tasj featured scores of my favorite contemporary photographers, but somehow I managed to leave out Edward Burtynsky, whose work I really, really like (sorry!) There is something wonderfully chilling about his depictions of mines, quarries, shipyards and other industrial environments and the compositional structure of each piece always feels just right."

Jim Kazanjian

Portland, OR artist

"Edward Burtynsky's uncanny landscapes project an intense presence and are rich with drama. My favorite is the amazing "Shipbreaking" series. Very potent stuff."

Walter Martin

Musician, The Walkmen

"Some of my favorite Edward Burtynsky photographs are pretty terrifying once you get past how beautiful they are. Somehow, through his lens, all of the horrors of industry look very beautiful. The world he sees looks entirely unfamiliar to me ­­ like some distant planet. Unfortunately it is our planet."

Edward appears in the following Top 10 lists




10 reactions displayed

"The miles and miles of tires show us hoe we are destroying our Home with refuse a little at a time until there is nothing left to desecrate."

"so intense and scary..mass production"

"I love the picture of the tires.... so infinite"

"Well, at least some people are working SOMEWHERE!!!"

"It reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Veruca's father has all his workers unwrapping chocolate bars instead of shelling peanuts."

"some how these make u feel unnessasary the people make me think of the old movie metropillous good work though"

"The first thing I thought when I saw the old tires was the fire would burn for years. Great photography."

"I truly appreciate Edward Burtynsky’s work. I saw his oil series at the Corcoran Gallery in DC and images from the China series at the High Museum in Atlanta. The China series and the shipbreaking series are awesome and my favorites. He has a wonderful eye for design, color and selecting subjects that tell a story. If nothing else he is a fine documentarian of life on the planet today."

"reminds me of that guy.."

"So at last battery chickens get their revenge ,just as we prohibit the cruel process on animals we allow ourselfs to subject each other to a similar process .At least they get to go home after enduring a days work."

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