Inspired by Simon Sinek’s Start with the Why. I’m going to try writing about People and Projects by starting with the why and how they got started, to understand how they are making a positive social impact.
Edward Burtynsky the fantastic photographer who captures the epic scales of mans effect on the environment is my first attempt.
How did he get started?
In his TED talk, Burtynsky he speaks of growing up with his father who loved the outdoors and experiencing the sights and images of the General Motors plant in his home town, where his father also worked. After graduating from a BAA in Photography and Media Studies he founded Toronto Image works a darkroom rental facility, digital imaging and new media training company.
He tried for years to photograph the pristine landscape and felt himself being sucked into the calendar picture genre. So he started to ask himself, how can I rethink the landscape? His epiphany came one day when he was lost in Pennsylvania, and ended up in a coal mining town called Frackville, which had the most surreal landscape he’d ever seen. A landscape totally transformed by man. Burtynsky decided to start seeking out mines like it and the largest industrial landscapes he could find.
Why? What change are he trying to make?
In his TED talk, Edward explains that the change he is trying to make with his work is to make us question on the impact our lifestyles are having on the environment and on people around the globe. It “looks at it, and tries to remind us that our built environment comes from somewhere, and that we just have ignored it”
How is he doing this? what is the process?
He does this by making beautiful photographs that use scale as a way of showing this impact and the large scale changes that are taking place. He photographs landscapes that have been altered by large- scale human activity. His photography of China, is a prime example of this. By focusing on the wastelands that have been left behind Burtynsky uses photography as a tool for depicting this reality.
What is the impact?
Burtynsky’s work calls for us to have ongoing global conversations about sustainable living.