Friday, November 10, 2006

Manufactured Landscapes Documentary

Just back from watching Manufactured Landscapes, a documentary film about the work of Edward Burtynsky.He has been photographing man's effect on the landscape for more than 10 years, making images of open pit coal mines, marble quarries, the ship breaking yards at Chitagong, Bangladesh, and most recently in China, both with it's industry and specifically the Three Gorges Dam - the world's largest by 50% and creating a lake big enough to produce a detectable wobble in the earth's rotation.

The film is by turns depressing, enlightening, and beautiful. It shows a number of Edward's images as well as him setting up shots. It's not a technical film about photographing - nothing about film and f-stops. Rather it makes a statement about man's effect on the landscape, for better or worse. Much of the filming is in China but there are images from around the world including North America.

One sees workers building ships, grinding away at metal with no eye protection. But you also see workers clearly happy in their lives and jobs in clean modern factories.

All of Burtynsky's work is interesting and some of it is beautiful, even allowing for what he is photographing.

Highly recommended.

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