Burtynsky in 2005
February 22, 1955 |
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
|Awards||Officer of the Order of Canada, TED Prize, The Outreach award at the Rencontres dâ€™Arles, The Flying Elephant Fellowship, Applied Arts Magazine book award(s), the Roloff Beny Book award.|
Sometimes you don't know why you're doing something. You're intuitively following, to see where it leads.
I'm trying to photograph an old offshore oil city that is lying in decay in the Caspian Sea, but I've been having a hard time getting there.
I can go into the wilderness and not see anyone for days and experience a kind of space that hasn't changed for tens of thousands of years. Having that experience was necessary to my perception of how photography can look at the changes humanity has brought about in the landscape. My work does become a kind of lament.
I had to work to put myself through school, so I always worked in the heaviest industries I could find because that's who paid the best.
The bigger question is how does a rogue species called humans – whose population just blew through the seven billion mark on it's way to nine billion members – manage to survive the next century on a planet with finite resources, without destroying its delicate balance in the process.
I wish I could create an IMAX film that would make my work accessible to a broader audience.
I'm working in this very complex set of issues having to do with who we are as a species and how much we can do to the Earth before it starts to buckle under. My work can easily read as an indictment, but I don't see it as that simple a problem.
I think the environmental movement has failed in that it's used the stick too much; it's used the apocalyptic tone too much; it hasn't sold the positive aspects of being environmentally concerned and trying to pull us out.
Water, like many other resources, is harvested, transported and used throughout all aspects of society. Unlike other resources, water is critical to the survival of all forms of life. The underlying question that sits at the core of my exploration is to what degree can we shape water before it begins to shape us.
Like all animals, human beings have always taken what they want from nature. But we are the rogue species. We are unique in our ability to use resources on a scale and at a speed that our fellow species can't.
I wish my artwork could persuade millions of people to join a global conversation about sustainability.
I wish we could launch a ground-breaking competition that motivates kids to invent new ideas in sustainable living.
Digital photography and Photoshop have made it very easy for people to take pictures. It's a medium that allows a lot of mediocre stuff to get through.