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I just had the pleasure of viewing legendary Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s Anthropocene exhibition on the very last day. I came away from the exhibition tremendously inspired as a photographer.
Mr Burtynsky’s images look so perfect they almost appear three dimensional. The prints are all very large and incredibly sharp. There is so much detail in every image that you feel magnetically drawn into the work. I felt like a tractor beam was pulling me into each image as I examined each photograph in detail.
Every single image was good enough to stand on it’s own and yet they also somehow worked stunningly well together. I suppose that is a testament to the amount of work put into the curation of the exbition beyond just the work itself…
I think the work will stand the test of time. From the color, to the composition, to the unique subject matter, I mean the entire thing just sings. This work will be top of mind for quite some time for me personally. I actually think these images will stay with me forever.
While strolling through the exhibit I couldn’t help but dream about being 64 and showing my work like this. That is something to aspire to for sure. I have 25 years until I’m Mr Burtynsky’s age so I better get to work! Seriously though, it is highly unlikely that I will ever be able to achieve anything even remotely close to this but it’s good to have goals. Having goals like this is one of the greatest things about photography, you just never stop learning. I suspect My Burtynsky is also on his own path of continuous learning.
Beyond the photographs it was also wonderful to see Mr. Burtynsky (and team) pushing the frontier with their Augmented Reality pieces. I found the AR app itself to be a bit cumbersome but the overall experience was certainly interesting. I suspect all mobile operating systems will just natively support AR triggers in the future. That would make the experience much more seamless.
Now taking my photographer hat off for a moment… I also found the subject matter of the exhibition to be deeply disturbing. Bearing witness to the destruction of spaceship earth was shocking and a bit disheartening. Seeing what we are doing to our planet was hard to take. Especially given that I’m more to blame for my impact than the average person given my affluent western lifestyle. It was a good reminder that I need to do more in my own life to help address these issues. We all have to take responsibility for this place we call home.
Here are a few handheld snapshots from the exhibit.
These images we’re shot on February 24th, 2019 at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
If you ever have the chance to see some Edward Burtynsky’s work DO IT! You won’t regret it!
Learn more about the work here:
After I posted this on my website I tweeted about it and Mr. Burtynsky replied! See below. (I am totally fangirling out over here… He just made my day!)
I shot these photos on Canada Day 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on July 1st 2017.
These images are also on Flickr if you want a different viewing experience.