Landscapes of Oil: A Photo Essay by Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky
December 31, 2015

Edward Burtynsky, a world-renowned Canadian photographer, is known for his works showing the effects of energy industry on the landscape. His “Oil” project consists of photos taken between 1999-2010 in a number of oil-producing regions in China, Azerbaijan, Canada and the United States. Burtynsky describes the scope of his project; “The car that I drove cross-country began to represent not only freedom, but also something much more conflicted. I began to think about oil itself: as both the source of energy that makes everything possible, and as a source of dread, for its ongoing endangerment of our habitat. I wanted to represent one of the most significant features of this century: the automobile. The automobile is the main basis for our modern industrial world, giving us a certain freedom and changing our world dramatically. The automobile was made possible because of the invention of the internal combustion engine and its utilization of both oil and gasoline.”