They’re big and beautiful – often hauntingly so. Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has donated 40 of his large-scale, hand-made prints to Rodman Hall Art Centre at Brock University.
Mr. Burtynsky, a native of Ontario’s Niagara region, has achieved international fame for his striking images of industrial and urban scenes from around the world. His work includes compositions from such diverse sites as Alberta’s tar sands, Chinese shoe factories, ship-breaking yards in Bangladesh, Italian marble quarries and, closer to his hometown, a shuttered auto-parts plant in Thorold, Ontario. In 2006, his approach to photography was the subject of director Jennifer Baichwal’s feature-length documentary film Manufacturing Landscapes.
“I’ve known Ed’s work for a long time,” says Stuart Reid, director of the Rodman Hall Art Centre. His large-format photos are “amazing things. He’s documenting such profound change on the planet and really drawing a lot of attention to issues of industrialization and globalization.”
Mr. Burtynsky was the subject of a major solo exhibition called Burtynsky Factories mounted at the Rodman Hall Art Centre in early 2011. Mr. Burtynsky is based in Toronto and travels the world on assignment, but he has said that some of his early inspiration came as a boy growing up in St. Catharines, where he was intrigued by such manufacturing landscapes as the local General Motors plants.
The gift “will be an invaluable resource for the university community,” says Mr. Reid. “We’re thrilled.”