Burtynsky photographs are art-like in their form, offering a surreal beauty to the industrial landscape.
Jennifer’s film slows the relationship between the viewer and the subject to a heart-beat. The rhythmic motions begs you to think, to ask questions and to wonder why.
This is in keeping with Burtynsky’s belief that the photographs are not there to be damned, or even to glamorise industrial capitalism. They are simply there to communicate.
For me, the film answers a question I feared the answer to – Where does the material for all our stuff come from and how much is left?
Our privileged lives hides us from the raw materials – the iron ore, the aluminium, the wood, the human sweat and the fumes of transportation. We don’t ask what it is to be an individual in the factories of China, the quality of life and the rules of production. It is divorced and distant. This film places that firmly in our minds. How we react is entirely up to us – the viewer.
Some will want to change the world – the environmentalist. Others will see that God provides the resources to be farmed – it is simply life. Whatever the response it is a startling collection of images; the world’s beauty captured in its most ugly form.
Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky can be purchased on hardcover from Amazon.
Jennifer Baichwal’s film that follows Edward Burtynsky during the making of Manufactured Landscapes can be purchased on DVD via Amazon.