Edward Burtynsky

1. Nickel Tailings #31 (1996)

2. Dam #6 ,Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River (2005)

3. Silver Lake Operations #1, Lake Lefroy, Western Australia (2007)

4. Super Pit #4, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia (2007)

5. Tanggu Port, Tianjin, China (2005)

I've never been particularly interested in landscape photography, but when I discovered the work of Toronto-based photographer Edward Burtynsky today at work I was absolutely enthralled. The McMaster Museum of Art collection includes Nickel Tailings #31 (1996). When I saw it I was instantly compelled to see more of Burtysnky's work.

Landscape photography is characterized by two divergent aims: to glorify nature and/or human achievement or to bring attention to humankind's destruction of the earth. What distinguishes Burtynsky's work from other landscape photography is its fascinating liminality between ugliness and beauty. The uncertain position that the photographs assume incites discomfort in the viewer, who must negotiate between the conflicting feelings of awe and disgust that arise in response to humankind's awesome, yet horrific, mark on nature. In his artistic statement Burtynsky says:

Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work. I set course to intersect with a contemporary view of the great ages of man; from stone, to minerals, oil, transportation, silicon, and so on. To make these ideas visible I search for subjects that are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning. Recycling yards, mine tailings, quarries and refineries are all places that are outside of our normal experience, yet we partake of their output on a daily basis.

These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire - a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times. (6)

Visit Art Blart and Burtynsky's website to view more of his work. Highly recommended!

There is a documentary by Jennifer Baichwal on Burtynsky's work entitled Manufactured Landscapes from 2007. Here is the trailer:

Sources: 1. The Scream Online; 2 - 5. Art Blart; 6. The Whyte Museum


My co-worker is a riot

She sent the museum staff this email today:

Hey Everyone,

There are three lovely wooden bowls and three wondrous candle holders left over from the MAC Fair which you need to give someone for a gift! Jude will throw them away otherwise so come and check them out in the hallway. Your mother-in-law deserves such a lovely gift for the holiday season and the price is right! Free!

Come and get ‘em.

Oh my googly gosh, I have a new huge crush...on Betty!


Alfred Stieglitz, Dorothy Norman, 1931, gelatin silver print. MoMA.
László Moholy-Nagy, Head, 1926, gelatin silver print. MoMA.


Overheard: a man voices his concerns

"The advantage of bringing a girl home is that you're in your own bed...but what if she never leaves? Like, what if she doesn't leave after we're done, or even the next morning?"

Gosh, girls are such scary objects.



The definition of "bohemian" and an exemplary sentence in the dictionary:

A person who has informal and unconventional social habits, esp. an artist or writer : the young bohemians with their art galleries and sushi.

So, what I have thought to be true is now confirmed: I am a bohemian.

Along with a billion other people in the world.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my dad's 64th birthday. I phoned him to yell "Happy Birthdayyyyy!!!!!" When he asked me if I had anything to share with him, I thought for a moment and then said that I had money to give him. He then gave me an update on familial life, which transitioned smoothly into his habitual reminders of the importance of maintaining strong relationships within the family. I replied in an equally rehearsed manner with a series of "yes"'s and "absolutely"'s. Arriving at the conclusion, he paused and then said in his fragmented English, "I love you...in my lifetime." The endearingly odd delivery of the sentence made me laugh, which I regret now as I'm sure it made my "I love you, too" seem less sincere.

After our conversation, his words, "I love you...in my lifetime" stuck in my mind. Coming from a paternal figure, this direct, fearless expression of love is a rare beauty that is to be cherished.

Family bonding

Dad: You have an amazing mom.

Me: You're amazing, too!

Dad: We are all amazing.


"Bad Romance": more like rad romance with McQueen S/S '10

I've watched this video five times today. By the way, does anyone else feel like Lady Gaga's makeup changes so often that it's impossible to know exactly what she looks like?


The true meaning of BFF Pt. 2

Austin was deeply embarrassed by his own appearance and could not look Alexandra in the eye, but Alexandra did not judge people by the colour of their skin. She acted as if nothing was awry and, in an effort to cheer him up, showed him what she had learned earlier that day from an online beatboxing tutorial.

(You are probably wondering what is on Austin's face; it is gentian violet.)


The true meaning of BFF

By Melissa Fattal

Alexandra's heart ached with empathy as Austin, no longer able to cope with the overwhelming sense of emptiness in his stomach, released a deluge of emotion.


Shiprock, New Mexico (1954)

By Carl Chelf; restored by Davis Pascal Ayer