On Wednesday, December 11, NATIONAL’s Managing Partner John Crean welcomed globally acclaimed photographer, artist and storyteller, Ed Burtynsky, as part of the Toronto office's Bold Thinking Speaker Series.
Edward Burtynsky was born and raised in St. Catharine’s, Ontario. He is the founder of the CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto, now the largest photography event in the world, and a premiere cultural event in Canada. He also founded the Beaver River Watershed Initiative, which is aimed at improving and conserving the river’s ecosystem.
Much of Burtynsky's work was captured in the 2006 documentary film, Manufactured Landscapes. And just a few months ago, the film Watermark -- a collaborative effort by Ed and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier -- premiered to critical acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival. His masterworks are on display in more than fifty major museums around the world.
In Ed’s own words, the predominant theme of his work is “nature transformed through industry”. Yet, like all great art, the genius and majesty of Ed Burtynsky’s photography is in how it transforms us – the audience. Viewing Burtynsky’ work unleashes a torrent of mixed emotions. Our senses are drawn in by the beauty of the images while our mind rebels against the harsh reality of what we are observing. It is this dramatic tension that brings his photography to life.
As part of his presentation, Burtynsky showed some of his most famed works, and spoke about the evolution of his thinking and how he has seen and captured the world. This includes a fascination with the relationship between man and nature, and how man has come to manipulate his landscapes.
Burtynsky's work creates a dialogue with his audiences. And that would make him not merely a bold thinker and artist, but also a great communicator.
More about Edward Burtynsky’s work
Visit Ed Burtynsky’s website for information on current projects as well as interview excerpts and movie trailers.
Watermark is showing at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox until Thursday, December 19 inclusive.