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Gallery of Canada (touring from 2003 - 2005), Before the Flood(2003), and China (toured 2005 - 2008). Burtynsky's visually compelling works are currently being exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, in the United States, Europe and Asia. 


Burtynsky’s photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of over 65 major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum (New York, USA), the Reina Sofia Museum (Madrid, Spain) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (California, USA).


His images appear in numerous periodicals each year, in the past among them are: Canadian Art, Art in America, The Smithsonian, Harper's Magazine, Flash Art, Blind Spot, Art Forum, Saturday Night, Playboy, National Geographic Society and the New York Times.


His distinctions include the TED Prize, The Outreach award at the Rencontres d’Arles, The Flying Elephant Fellowship, Applied Arts Magazine book award(s), and the Roloff Beny Book award. In 2006 he was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of Canada and holds six honorary doctorate degrees.


Edward Burtynsky is represented by: Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto; Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary; Art 45, Montreal; Howard Greenberg Gallery, and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York; Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Hong Kong & Singapore; Flowers, London; Galerie Stefan Röpke, Köln; Galerie Springer, Berlin; and Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco. His prints are 

housed in over sixty public collections worldwide.

Edward Burtynsky


(b. 1955)


Edward Burtynsky is a photographer. His imagery explores the intricate link between industry and nature, combining the raw elements of mining, quarrying, manufacturing, shipping, oil production and recycling into expressive visions that seek to find beauty and humanity in the most unlikely of places. He links his early exposure to the sites and images of the General Motors plant in his hometown to the development of his photographic work. Additional influences include North American landscape photography and Italian art, such as the works of Michelangelo.


Exhibitions include 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), Manufactured Landscapes at the National 



Alberta Oil Sands #14, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, mounted print, (121.92 x 147.32cm), 2007

Xiaolangdi Dam #3, Yellow River, Henan Province, China, mounted print (121.92 x 147.32cm), 2011

He is founder of Toronto Image Works, a darkroom rental facility, custom photo laboratory, digital imaging and new media computer-training centre catering to all levels of Toronto's art community. Burtynsky also sits on the board of directors for: Toronto’s international photography festival, Contact and The Ryerson Gallery and Research Center. An active lecturer on photographic art, Burtynsky's speaking engagements include the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, The Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the TED conference, Idea City, and Ryerson University in Toronto.

Edward Burtynsky Artist Statement


Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work. I set course to intersect with a contemporary view of the great ages of man; from stone, to minerals, oil, transportation, silicon, and so on. To make these ideas visible I search for subjects that are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning. Recycling yards, mine tailings, quarries and refineries are all places that are outside of our normal experience, yet we partake of their output on a daily basis.

These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire - a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times.


The Alberta Oil Sands #14 and the Xiaolangdi Dam #3 both come from the most recent series Water.


"I wanted to understand water: what it is, and what it leaves behind when we're gone. I wanted to understand our use and misuse of it. I wanted to trace the evidence of global thirst and threatened sources. Water is part of a pattern I've watched unfold throughout my career. I document landscapes that, whether you think of them as beautiful or monstrous, or as some strange combination of the two, are clearly not vistas of an inexhaustible, sustainable world."

(Walrus, October 2013)


The Alberta Oil Sands #14 is one of the distressed landscapes I explored, where water is scarce or forever compromised. While the Xiaolangdi Dam #3 is from the chapter on Control, which examines large-scale incursions imposed upon the earth to harness and divert the power of water; from the ancient Stepwells of India, to the modern canals that feed precious water to millions in California, and this gigantic hydroelectric dam project in China.

Representative Works

Nickel Tailings #34, 35, Sudbury, Ontario, diptych, mounted prints, (dimensions variable), 1996

China Recycling #8, Plastic Toy Parts, Guiyu, Guangdong Province, China, mounted print, (dimensions variable),  2004

Colorado River Delta #2, near San Felipe, Baja, Mexico, mounted print (dimensions variable), 2011

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