We will be interviewing Edward Burtynsky for the Medium Format Magazine next week. Please feel free to share your own questions below. We will select one or more.
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Thank you for your ideas. The first question was answered in numerous interviews, therefore I don't think we want to ask him this question again. I really like your third question, which was also partially answered but we will try to relate to this topic in our conversation. I also find it fascinating.You can ask him these:
(1) In her introduction to Manufactured Landscapes, Lori Paul wrote, "...Burtynsky’s photographs are not overtly political. They do not assign any blame – neither on society as a whole, nor on the companies that operate mines or refineries. The images force us simply to contemplate our imprint on the land.” Is your Anthropocene project a shift on the question of "assigning blame", or would you say that in Anthropocene you're still trying to not be overtly political? Either way, I'm curious to hear how you square the circle in 2020.
(2) I enjoyed the photography on display when Anthropocene was in Toronto, and I appreciated what you were trying to do. But I was also struck by the ambiguity. I watched a father and his young daughter looking at and talking about the picture of the waste ponds from lithium mining, and then they moved to the picture of the solar farm that was one station over and talked about that. I wondered what he thought the lesson was for his daughter. Was it, "Lithium mines bad, solar farms good?" Or given that both are large-scale industrial projects with significant environmental impacts on the landscape, was it more nuanced. I didn't overhear so I don't know, but I wonder what you wanted people to think about and take from the juxtaposition of those two images.
(3) You gave a talk in Buffalo in 2015 where you shared the "arc" of your career. Some of the earliest work you showed was very "intimate landscape" -- e.g., human-scale pictures of masses of bushes by river banks. Fast forward to April, 2020 in the midst of the pandemic: you published an Earth Day piece and your Spring Landscape Study that you made in that month. It reminded me very much of the very early work you showed in that 2015 talk. Has your "arc" become a circle, or was that April, 2020 just a short side-trip and you're back to the kind of work you're better known for?