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Challenge #43 - First reactions, thoughts, discussion & old photos

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52 by 52 is a group administrator 52 by 52 says:

Challenge #43: Make an image of unsustainability.
— Edward Burtynsky


"Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work. I set course to intersect with a contemporary view of the great ages of man; from stone, to minerals, oil, transportation, silicon, and so on. To make these ideas visible I search for subjects that are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning. Recycling yards, mine tailings, quarries and refineries are all places that are outside of our normal experience, yet we partake of their output on a daily basis."

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Nickel Tailings #34


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Bao Steel #2


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Oxford Tire Pile #2


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Oil Fields #22


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Highway #2


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"These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire - a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times."

View more of Edward's work >

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As well as being a good place to connect with other members and share your initial reactions, thoughts about how to 'solve it' and any links you think might help the group, this can also be a good place to include any old photos you have that fit the challenge. We're looking forward to hearing your thoughts this week.

— 52 by 52 team
1:05AM, 21 June 2012 PDT (permalink)

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dacaccia says:

Demonstration against consumption and throw-away mentality:

Forever?
73 months ago (permalink)

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Mark W Russell is a group moderator Mark W Russell says:

Edward Burtynsky's work is SO strong and niche, that at the moment I find it hard to think of a potential subject/shot that would not seem derivative.
73 months ago (permalink)

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bart1eby says:

Interestingly I was thinking almost the opposite - that his work is so strong and niche (not to mention expensively produced) that getting anything even vaguely similar would prove impossible!

For those who haven't seen it the documentary about Burtynksy -Manufactured Landscapes - is a must see if only for the endless opening tracking shot of the impossibly large chinese factory.
Originally posted 73 months ago. (permalink)
bart1eby edited this topic 73 months ago.

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david_gillett is a group administrator david_gillett says:

Really strong shot and an elegantly simple way to demonstrate waste.

I know what you mean, I guess unsustainability doesn't necessarily have to have an environmental component? Any situation that is unsustainable might be appropriate.

Burtynksy - Manufactured Landscapes has made it's way on to YouTube:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZnZOe_tKCs
It doesn't have subtitles unfortunately, it's possible to turn on "Captions > Transcribe Audio".

Burtynksy talks about the project on TED: www.ted.com/talks/edward_burtynsky_on_manufactured_landsc...

Avonmouth Cooling towers

Cooling towers by david_gillett

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I took a wrong turn into a retail park the other day and ended up behind the warehouse like buildings. All the elements that are set up inside the stores to convince you the products will enhance your life are stripped away and their physicality comes to the fore. So I might pop back and see if I can get some shots whilst evading the security cameras!
73 months ago (permalink)

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Mark W Russell is a group moderator Mark W Russell says:

Ben - when you have set up and financed your own developing/printing company (Toronto Image Works -http://edwardburtynsky.com/ ) the finish should be good. I was thinking purely about subject matter rather finish, which I never think you can truly judge unless you see prints in the flesh.
73 months ago (permalink)

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bart1eby says:

Mark, you misunderstand me, by expensive production I meant all the access, travelling, cranes and helicopters... Interestingly it was his work on the Gehry redesign of the AGO, particularly the interiors, which only required the first factor that convinced me just how good Burtynsky is.

With regards to the prints I saw one of his ship breaking photos recently and it was undeniably beautiful, particularly the colours, but it did look a little soft compared to the prints I've seen of other large / medium format masters such as Simon Norfolk, Mitch Epstein, the various Dusseldorfers, etc.

edited because i just remembered - his oil series is showing at the newly reopened photographer's gallery until 1st July if anyone wants to see some in the flesh...
Originally posted 73 months ago. (permalink)
bart1eby edited this topic 73 months ago.

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Julia M Cameron is a group administrator Julia M Cameron says:

This brief reminded me of the un-sustainability of a person's life.

Joan 2
73 months ago (permalink)

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bart1eby says:

A bittersweet pleasure to be reminded again of that superb shot, Julia. I'm still not sure what I'm going to shoot but something about your photo reminded me of the japanese concept of mono no aware which might suggest another way to address the brief and wikipedia will do a far better job of defining than me -

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mono_no_aware
73 months ago (permalink)

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Julia M Cameron is a group administrator Julia M Cameron says:

Ben, Had not heard of mono no aware, but how apt for this Challenge and an interesting philosophical starting point generally too. Thanks for "flagging" this.
73 months ago (permalink)

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~ Meredith ~ says:

Wow that's a strong and very emotional shot Julia. Kudos. You might be interested in this series by one of my contacts who has been documenting his dad's recovery from a stroke.

www.flickr.com/photos/will_gortoa/sets/72157628515934371/

I went to see Burtynsky's Oil series at The PG last week. I found them overwhelming both in terms of size and subject. It's split over 2 floors but I felt drained after walking around one so will go back and look at the other this week. They almost seem more like paintings than photos partly because of their scale and detail and partly because of the way they have been processed/printed I think.

Still to decide what I'm going to do for this (behind as ever) but that idea of mono no aware is an interesting one too.
73 months ago (permalink)

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scala66/Paul Marsh says:

his might have been a good project for someone down that way.

www.edenproject.com/whats-it-all-about/climate-and-enviro...
73 months ago (permalink)

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Julia M Cameron is a group administrator Julia M Cameron says:

Meredith,
Many thanks for the link to your contacts set. Heart rending stuff. It is very hard to document this sort of thing without guilt or a feeling of betrayal and yet is also "necessary".
73 months ago (permalink)

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Mark W Russell is a group moderator Mark W Russell says:

Archive shot - Antwerp, Petrochemical plants, April 2012

Archive - Antwerp April 2012
73 months ago (permalink)

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Leripix says:

As usual, I am mindblown by the diversity of people's intepretations and mindmaps whenever we get a new challenge.

I have been racking my brains all week thinking along the food lines - the "all you can eat" joints, McDonalds etc., but today having hit a void, realised it was already on my doorstep - the places I take as part of my scenery without question... all within a half hour's walk from my own front door (within the "protected" National Park).


Originally posted 73 months ago. (permalink)
Leripix edited this topic 73 months ago.

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