39 Queens Quay East
For all inquiries please email info at no9.ca
Of all of the industries that Ed Burtynsky has investigated over the years (mining, quarrying, manufacturing, shipping, recycling), none is more important than that of oil. Operating by the strength of its own product as well as making all others possible, the oil industry is the cornerstone of our society in more ways than we often consider. But as the exhaustion of the earth's oil reserves becomes a real possibility, these images represent a present and possible future of the oil industry. Discovered in 1911, the Belridge oil fields shown in Oil Fields 9a & 9B, Belridge, California, with their orderly rows of pumps like predatory creatures, is estimated to still contain more than 500 million barrels of oil. By contrast, the SOCAR oil fields, near Baku, Azerbaijan, are mostly abandoned, leaving behind a devastated, toxic landscape. As a move towards other energy sources becomes more and more necessary, what will happen to the vast areas of the earth which have been transformed in order to supply us with all the oil we want?
Burtynsky intends his images to "search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear", while exploring the intricate connection between industry and nature. At a time when this relationship is increasingly scrutinised, Burtynsky's images take us to places that we might not otherwise see, their strange beauty forcing us to keep looking, and start thinking.
Born in 1955 in St. Catharines, Ontario, Edward Burtynsky is one of Canada's most respected photographers. His work is in the collections of major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum in New York, and has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and around the world.
The recipient of many international awards, Burtynsky’s distinctions include the TED Prize, the Rencontres d’Arles Outreach award, and the Roloff Beny Book award. In 2007 he was awarded the title Officer of the Order of Canada.