Edward Burtynsky

I Sky+ed a film on Sky Arts quite some time ago and finally got round to watching it today.

It was a film called Manufactured Landscapes. I wasn’t sure what to expect of it but I found it mesmerising. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Each frame was beautifully shot. It was partially about the way manufacturing has changed the landscape (i.e. What you can see – such as mines and quarries etc.) and the rest was about manufacturing itself. What it takes from the landscape and what we put back into it in waste from these processes. But it wasn’t a depressing hopeless film. There were elements of that. Such as mentioning where these elements went to or that life expectancy for these workers was short. But nothing preachy or too dwelling.

In fact the narration was very minimal in this film. The first 5 minutes was just running past rows and rows of (silent!) workers in a factory. The factory itself was huge and when the camera drew back for the titles the view was incredibly vast.

It was about Edward going on a photography trip and recording that process as well as showing some of the photographs and exhibitions of them. Lots of beautiful shots that work as stills and as moving footage. Really showing the beauty in all landscapes. Including those that we feel have been ravaged by our own use. He has concerns that if we destroy nature we destroy ourselves. So in some ways the film showed how we were ravaging the world and in others that some of us are recycling and reusing as much as possible to get every possible use out of those resources. Also how a whole 10+ cities were knocked down to make way for a reservoir dam for hydroelectric power.

Fascinating. I’ve opted to keep the film as I think I would like to watch it several times. The cinematography alone was worth it. His books are very expensive, but I’ll keep a look out of any on eBay. His sort of imagery is good source material for me. So I might be able to look at these sorts of things in the uk. Grafham Water I looked at recently is a manufactured landscape. It’s somewhere I plan to go back to look at. So that will be an interesting angle to look at next time I go back as it’s regarded as a nature reserve as well as a reservoir. When you’re there it appears natural. But from the approach you can see that one edge is clearly man-made

All good stuff to think about.


Found this on TED today.



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