In September 2013, world-renowned photographer of the industrial landscape, Edward Burtynsky, will launch his largest and most remarkable project to date, Water. This release will include a series of dramatic large-format photographs from Burtynsky’s fifth book, Burtynsky – Water, published by the celebrated fine-art book publisher, Steidl. The work explores in intricate detail humanity’s complex relationship with the world’s most vital natural resource.
A project spanning five years, the photographs in Burtynsky – Water, document the scale and impact of manufacturing and consumption on the world’s water supplies. Russell Lord, Curator of Photographs at the New Orleans Museum of Art describes: "Burtynsky traces the various roles that water plays in modern life - as a source of healthy ecosystems and energy, as a key element in cultural and religious rituals and as a rapidly depleting resource...These images, sometimes elegant, sometimes haunting...form a compelling global portait that illustrates humanity's past, present, and future relationship with the natural world."
Shooting in ten different countries for Water, Burtynsky’s photographs include dry-land farming in Spain, pivot irrigation sites in Texas, and the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, where using helicopters and small fixed-wing aircraft, he brings the scale of the human imprint into a more meaningful perspective . He also photographed millions of people bathing in the sacred Ganges in India; the mega-dam construction on the upper Yangtze and the once-per-year slit release on the Yellow Rivers in China, the virgin watersheds of British Columbia, and the delta of the Colorado River.
Burtynsky states, “While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding – and very thirsty – civilization we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways. Over five years, I have explored water in various aspects; distress, control, agriculture, aquaculture, waterfront and source. We have to learn to think more long-term about the consequences of what we are doing, while we are doing it. My hope is that these pictures will stimulate a process of thinking about something essential to our survival, something we often take for granted – until it’s gone.”