Monday, October 5, 2009

edward burtynsky at the corcoran, dc

I first stumbled upon the work of photographer/artist Edward Burtynsky earlier last summer while browsing through the dvd section of my local library. My wife Kris actually spotted it, knowing the kind of artsy documentary fiend I can be. It was an incredibly eye-opening film entitled "Manufactured Landscapes", chronicling Burtynsky's recent photo work in (mostly) China. I won't get into what it was about too much (you should hunt it down and see it for yourself!), but I was struck by the beauty of his photography and the fact that the subject matter itself was anything but beautiful. One thing (of many things) I wished for after seeing the film was how I'd love to see his photography up close and in person. Well, that wish came true, and on my birthday to top it off! The icing on the cake (not referring to the wonderful cake Kris' friend Jessica made me) was that he was there, at the show's opening at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC! Yes, the photos here aren't great, and even if they were, it wouldn't have come close to capturing the experience of being there. In addition to the show, Burtynsky, along with Dr. William Rees (who coined the term "Ecological Footprint") led a passionate and fascinating discussion about the show and how the works fit into the broader scheme of things. Finally, I got to meet Mr. Burtynsky, shake his hand and thank him. He even signed my book, simply entitled "BURTYNSKY OIL", which is in itself a real gem and a close second to seeing the photos in a gallery setting.

On a side note, I want to thank my wife Kris, who ultimately made my birthday special and who had a special day of her own last Friday night, after lots of hard work and dedication. See HERE for more.