A Healthy Dose of Culture

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If I had to say what is the ethos of my work, it’s a lament for the loss of nature at the hand of man. To me, it’s man’s engagement with the planet that’s interesting, so in all of my landscapes, man is implied, not necessarily as a portrait of man, but as a portrait of man’s work, and man’s reshaping of the natural world.

–Edward Burtynsky

Every Wednesday the Royal Ontario Museum is free to the public between the hours of 330 and 530 pm. This week I chose to take them up on their offer and attended Edward Burtynsky’s current touring exhibit, Oil for the sum total of $0 (including coat check).

Walking through the ROM’s Institute for Contemporary Culture, you track the story of oil in stages – from production to various forms of consumption and eventually you watch its disposal. Burtynsky’s signature large-scale photography highlights the importance of environmental and economic sustainability without becoming cliche. His images are more evocative than editorial. Powerful without being preachy. And because of that I felt myself reengaging with issues I already cared about in new ways, from new vantage points. I highly recommend looking into it or, if you’re not in Toronto, checking out the film Manufactured Landscapes or watching this TED video.

For more information on Burtnsky and this exhibit you can read his full interview in The National Post here. In this article he also goes on to discuss his upcoming project. Next on the agenda: industrial farming. 

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