Edward Burtynsky photographs a world changing for the purposes of industrial development. His most recent book, China, is a glimpse into the massive social and economic transformation currently underway as China tries to join the ranks of more industrialized nations.
Burtynsky says that â€œthese images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire, a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times.â€
His images of the Three Gorges Dam project on the Yangtze River (which is bigger by 50% than any other dam in the world, displacing more than one million people) look post-apocalyptic. Pictures of factories and the people who work in them are filled with endlessly repeating patterns and colors. In cities like Shanghai, massive urban renewal can be seen as countless skyscrapers and roadways replace traditional dwellings. See more images here.
Jennifer Baichwal followed Burtynsky as he traveled through China making these pictures and produced an award-winning documentary called Manufactured Landscapes, a riveting film that was just released on DVD. You can see a trailer for it here.
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