Manufactured Landscapes

Ship-breaking in Bangladesh

Today I watched MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES, a film about the work of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. Burtynsky takes large scale photographs of industrial, man-made landscapes that are stunning in every sense of the word. Even though the photographs are of shipyards, oil fields, Chinese factories, and recycling plants, they are inexplicably beautiful. Burtynsky doesn’t say his perspective on these landscapes outright, rather he aims to make the viewers a bit uncomfortable with the aesthetic pleasure they get out of looking at images they are undeniably connected to.

Shipbreaking in Bangladesh

Ship building in China

Densified Oil Drums

Nickel tailings in Ontario, Canada

Three Gorges Dam, China

Smith Quarry, Vermont

Plastic Toy Parts, China

Chicken processing plant, China

Oil Refinery, New Brunswick, Canada

Had you seen these images before? Do you like them? I would love to be able to take photographs like this.

If you go to his website you can see the pictures enlarged.

Perhaps I’ll go wander around the shipyards in Seattle and take pictures of all our stuff arriving from China one of these days..

*All photographs from


3 responses to “Manufactured Landscapes

  1. i thought i remember you posting about this. i just watched this last night. a lot of parts reminded me of a more industrial baraka. when i looked at his pictures before, the scale of things was so grand that it didn’t seem real. like it wasn’t tangible. but with the film putting everything into context, i was blown away.

    i still think some of the things were unreal. which makes me want to go to China more. ikimashou!

    • It is a lot like Baraka! I need to watch that again! I’m glad you liked it. My teacher said that Burtynsky had been criticized a lot for the scale of his pictures because I guess people said they overshadowed the human aspect. I think he addresses that in this film though by zooming into the photos so you can see all the individual faces and such.

  2. Pingback: Seattle Waterfront « 24:00·

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