Impressive photos of massive industrial landscapes show China’s transformation

Edward Burtynsky - Manufacturing #17, Deda Chicken Processing Plant, Dehui City, Jilin Province, 2005
Edward BurtynskyManufacturing #17, Deda Chicken Processing Plant, Dehui City, Jilin Province, China, 2005

For Edward Burtynsky, photography is much more than immortalizing a scene; while his focus is on taking photos, he is keen on sharing his point of view with the rest of the world. One of the most outstanding aspects of his works is his ability to connect to the real world. China for instance is a massive country, comprised of 3.7-million-square-miles of manufacturing landscape and that means people are busy all the time. What is a picture of China without a hint of humanity? The many pictures Burtynsky has taken of China appear to be carefully thought out; each one makes use of a location that not only captures what is happening on a large-scale, but also the people who make it happen.

As an artist his role is to bring out the best of what he chooses to put on film; this he has done so well in this particular country. The Chinese people, through the eyes of Burtynsky, are part of the greater mechanical system that keeps the country’s economy afloat. There is no doubt that there is so much negativity to write home for that but his work is about positive impressions of the world. Human nature is such that the bad outdoes the good and this is replicated even in photography. While China is renowned for the production of any kind of goods as well as a booming housing sector to boost the ever growing population, all this eventually comes to an end in a cycle of destiny.

Looking at the pictures he takes, one can easily get into his mind frame and view humanity from a point of humility, awe and outrage. Some of these might be hard to acknowledge but it is the reality of what life is that keeps people hooked to what Burtynsky does. On one hand is the natural aspect of the world that cannot be changed which is nature and on the other is what people make to simplify their lives. A photographer that finds this link finds a balance which they project beyond the lens. There is an unseen struggle between seduction and fear, attraction and repulsion that he manages to capture in his works.

Everybody is aware that China is a superpower but not many people are able to visualize what that means. As the world keeps changing to accommodate the millions that are born every year, it is expected that natural resources will be depleted over time. It might be possible to tell why Burtynsky chose China as his canvas, but this modern day super power is gearing up for an industrial tsunami to meet the needs of everyone. This is the nature of work that has earned him international recognition and acclaim.

Edward Burtynsky - Cankun Factory, Zhangzhou, Fujian Province, 2005
Edward BurtynskyCankun Factory, Zhangzhou, Fujian Province, China, 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Manufacturing #2, Shift Change, Yuyuan Shoe Factory, Gaobu Town, Guangdong Province, China, 2004
Edward BurtynskyManufacturing #2, Shift Change, Yuyuan Shoe Factory, Gaobu Town, Guangdong Province, China, 2004

Edward Burtynsky - Manufacturing #6A and 6B, Hongqingting Shoe Factory, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, 2004
Edward BurtynskyManufacturing #6A and 6B, Hongqingting Shoe Factory, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, 2004

Edward Burtynsky - Manufacturing #6A, Hongqingting Shoe Factory, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, 2004 (detail of original diptych)
Edward BurtynskyManufacturing #6A, Hongqingting Shoe Factory, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, China (detail of original diptych), 2004

Edward Burtynsky - Manufacturing #10A and 10B, Cankun Factory, Xiamen City, 2005 (detail of original diptych)
Edward BurtynskyManufacturing #10A and 10B, Cankun Factory, Xiamen City, China (detail of original diptych), 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Manufacturing #10B, Cankun Factory, Xiamen City, 2005 (detail of original diptych)
Edward BurtynskyManufacturing #10B, Cankun Factory, Xiamen City, China (detail of original diptych), 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Manufacturing #11, Youngor Textiles, Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, 2005
Edward BurtynskyManufacturing #11, Youngor Textiles, Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China, 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Manufactured Landscapes
Edward BurtynskyManufacturing #16Bird Mobile, Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China, 2005
Edward BurtynskyManufacturing #16Bird Mobile, Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China,2005

Edward Burtynsky - Dam #4, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, China 2002
Edward BurtynskyDam #4, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, China, 2002

Edward Burtynsky - Dam #6, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, 2005
Edward BurtynskyDam #6, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, China, 2002

Edward Burtynsky - Feng Jie #3 & 4, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, 2002
Edward BurtynskyFeng Jie #3 & 4, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, China, 2002

Edward Burtynsky - Feng Jie #3, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, 2002 (detail of original diptych)
Edward BurtynskyFeng Jie #3, Yangtze River, China, 2002 (detail of original diptych)

Edward Burtynsky - Feng Jie #4, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, 2002 (detail of original diptych)
Edward BurtynskyFeng Jie #4, Yangtze River, China, 2002 (detail of original diptych)

Edward Burtynsky - Feng Jie #5, Yangtze River, China, 2002
Edward BurtynskyFeng Jie #5, Yangtze River, China, 2002

Edward Burtynsky - Wan Zhou #2, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, China, 2002
Edward BurtynskyWan Zhou #2, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, China, 2002

Edward Burtynsky - Wan Zhou #4, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, China, 2002
Edward BurtynskyWan Zhou #4, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, China, 2002

Edward Burtynsky - Wushan #3, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, China, 2002
Edward BurtynskyWushan #3, Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, China, 2002

Edward Burtynsky - Xiaolangdi Dam #1, Yellow River, Henan Province, China
Edward BurtynskyXiaolangdi Dam #1, Yellow River, Henan Province, China

Edward Burtynsky - Old Factories #1, Fushun Aluminum Smelter, Fushun City, Liaoning Province, China, 2005
Edward BurtynskyOld Factories #1, Fushun Aluminum Smelter, Fushun City, Liaoning Province, China, 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Old Factories #4, Shenyang Heavy Machinery Group, Tiexi District, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, China, 2005
Edward BurtynskyOld Factories #4, Shenyang Heavy Machinery Group, Tiexi District, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, China, 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Old Factories #5, Shenyang Heavy Machinery Group, Tiexi District, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, China, 2005
Edward BurtynskyOld Factories #5, Shenyang Heavy Machinery Group, Tiexi District, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, China, 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Old Factories #6, Shenyang Heavy Machinery Group, Tiexi District, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, China, 2005
Edward BurtynskyOld Factories #6, Shenyang Heavy Machinery Group, Tiexi District, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, China, 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Old Factories #9, Fushun Aluminum Smelter, Fushun City, Liaoning Province, China, 2005
Edward BurtynskyOld Factories #9, Fushun Aluminum Smelter, Fushun City, Liaoning Province, China, 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Bao Steel #2, Shanghai, China, 2005
Edward BurtynskyBao Steel #2, Shanghai, China, 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Bao Steel #4, Shanghai, China, 2005
Edward BurtynskyBao Steel #4, Shanghai, China, 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Bao Steel #5, Shanghai, China, 2005
Edward BurtynskyBao Steel #5, Shanghai, China, 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Bao Steel #8, Shanghai, 2005
Edward BurtynskyBao Steel #8, Shanghai, China, 2005

Edward Burtynsky - Bao Steel #10, Tianjin, China, 2005
Edward BurtynskyBao Steel #10, Tianjin, China, 2005

 

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