Recording human impact on the earth

Edward Burtynsky tells CHEAH UI-HOON that he wanted to photograph nature but wished to do it with a different angle

PHOTOGRAPHING nature in all its natural glory has been done by greats such as Ansel Adams and other landscape photographers. So when Canadian Edward Burtynsky was looking for his angle, he picked Man's impact on the landscape instead. "It's focusing the lenses on human systems we've put into the landscape," he explains, adding that he knew he wanted to photograph nature, but he wished to do it with a difference. "Most of my work is to connect us, humans, to the landscape. That's the thesis."

It's easy now to see Burtynsky's photographs through the filters of environmentalism, but when he started 30 years ago, the view towards our land and nature was very different, he recalls. "The idea of global...

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