When you look at a photograph by Edward Burtynsky, it’s customary to be overcome by the sheer scale of his work. He deals with big subjects – industrialisation, economic growth, the prevalence of oil and the mechanised mining of our earth – and his trademark panoramic shots add a breathtaking sense of perspective to them. Who else would you get to shoot vast mining craters in Australia, the ship-breaking graveyards of Bangladesh and the rapidly-expanding industrial districts of China?
What’s less apparent (but equally breathtaking) is just how long he’s been producing work of this magnitude and calibre. Snap back to 1983 and a 30-year-old Burtynsky has just started producing large-format images of railway cuts in his native Canada. They’re the very first of multiple landscape series’ that went on to define his career. For early work, Burtynsky’s accomplishment is extraordinary, and his technique is groundbreaking in its approach. To look back on these images now with an understanding of the illustrious career that’s filled the intervening years offers a remarkable insight into a truly incredible photographer. So have a look, and then think about just how great this man really is.
- Submit Saturdays: First impressions and Cover Pages
- A futuristic framework for the retrospective of pioneering “total design” advocate Ove Arup
- Cool off with this week's Best of the Web and who to follow on social media
- Elena Éper's spirited illustrations to make you smile and squirm
- Pencil Bandit and Grey London produce quirky branded stings for E4
- Tommy Cash subverts the tropes of rap videos with a fleshy celebration of the human body (NSFW)
- Pentagram unveils refresh of Mastercard’s brand mark and identity
- Chris (Simpsons Artist)'s surreal but accurate illustrations of creative jobs
- Benedict Redgrove’s beautifully hypnotic film about how a tennis ball is created
- Ian Davis’ picturesque paintings of bureaucratic dystopia
- Photographer Adrienne Salinger’s series of teenage bedrooms from the 90s
- Is it ever OK to work for free?