Edward Burtynsky Photographs on view at the Shelburne Museum

Three Gorges Dam, by Edward Burtynsky 2005

Ansel Adams and Edward Burtynksky: Constructed Landscapes
Jun 19 – Oct 24

I am a great admirer of Edward Burtynsky’s work, so I was thrilled to discover that the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont is showing his photographs in the exhibition “Constructed Landscapes.”  (It is the perfect first entry for the new Studio Ju Ju blog). Burtynsky explores places where humans have dramatically altered the natural landscape. His photographs are beautiful while they present almost unfathomable destruction.

Vermont residents and visitors can’t help but look at Vermont’s picturesque landscapes with reverence. Burtynsky’s photographs, while they depict destruction, can evoke the same kind of awe, raising an array of interesting questions about our relationship to the landscape in 2010. To add poignancy to the viewing experience, the exhibition also includes photographs by Ansel Adams from a time when the American relationship to the landscape was perhaps, quite different.

There is a powerful documentary that chronicles Burtynsky’s work in China. I highly recommend  Manufactured Landscapes. It is available through Netflix.

Below is the Shelburne Museum’s write-up about the show. See you there!

Constructed Landscapes is Shelburne Museum’s first exhibition of modern and contemporary photography. The exhibit features over 60 photographs by Ansel Adams (1902-1984), one of the most influential and popular landscape photographers in history and Edward Burtynsky (b. 1955), a contemporary photographer whose images of “manufactured landscapes” such as mines, railway cuts and dams have brought him considerable acclaim in the past decade.

The exhibit explores concepts of the natural world, wilderness and how carefully crafted images can lead the viewer to specific conclusions and ultimately shape public perception about land use, natural resources and beauty.

Burtynsky and Adams are in stark juxtaposition in Constructed Landscapes. Ansel Adams’ classic and pristine black and white images of undisturbed nature contrast with Burtynsky’s stunning color prints of landscapes altered by man, including quarries in Vermont.

More on the exhibition Ansel Adams and Edward Burtynksky: Constructed Landscapes

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