Saturday, July 21, 2007

Edward Butynsky in The Walrus


Well, back from my sojourn at the cottage (19kbps connection on neighbors phone line - gave up after a couple of attempts. The web is just not designed to work on dial up any more...).

But, I did take a pile of books and magazines to read.

One of them was the current edition of The Walrus (a sort of Canada in Harpers). Ed Burtynsky has the cover (one of his newer marble quarry photos) and a two page essay inside. I found two points interesting.

First, he comes out pretty clearly as being opposed to massive unsustainable development - of the sort that much of his photography depicts - and rather green. Albeit in a mildly Canadian way.

Secondly, says many of his photographs were intentionally ambiguous. He wanted to leave their meaning open ended so as to enable him to continue having access to the places he wished to photograph. While he excuses this on the ground of disliking polemics and cliches, I think some of his work suffers because of it.

(He also said he gave up early on trying to photograph "just" the Canadian landscape because of what he calls the gravitational pull of cliches. But I've seen a bit of this work, and I think it's some of his best - I wonder what would have happened had he pursued this?)

An interesting read if you can find a copy - in fact the magazine is nearly always worth reading. There isn't usually too much obvious CanCon (aka "Canadian Content" - a federal regulation for TV funding) in most issues - this one has a rather good poem by Evelyn Lau called The Mall.

(photo is one of Burtynsky's earlier Carrera images)

3 comments:

Bee said...

Glad you're back. Now stay home or get a proper mobile thingy. I mean, sheesh...

tim atherton said...

well, it dones't have cell/mobile coverage either - you have to drive along the dirt rural road to the top of a hill to get that... :-)

Joe Reifer said...

Have you seen the Burtynsky movie yet? I'm going to see it this week, and have heard it's quite good.