Imagining Future Landscapes

If you stumble across Edward Burtynsky photographs you can’t help but be visually stunned by the beauty in his captured landscapes.

However, take another look because these are not natural phenomena rather manmade scars; the aftermath of humankind’s systematic ravishing of the earth in search of valuable but finite resources.


Burtynsky seeks out vast areas of waste materials from manufacturing, chemical run off from nickel works and cavernous mining holes in Western Australia and photographs these landscapes. I find that in his work he imposes a strange transitory beauty on these places. 

Image: Nickel Tralings #34 Sudbury Ontario Canada, 1996

The images of Western Australia – the “super pit” at Kalgoorlie and the Silver Lake Operations at Lake Lefroy are the landscapes of Australia’s future – the legacy our generation will leave. As planners can we imagine a vision for the future for these places? 


Image: Super Pit #4 Kalgoorlie Western Australia 2007


Image: Silver Lake Operations #16 Lake Lefroy, Western Australia, 2007

More information about the Edward Burtynsky can be found here


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