Thursday, June 16, 2011

From where Edward Burtynsky stands

“What do you ‘expect’ from a certain artistic expression?” This question may sound weird, at least it sounded to me when I was a student and (over)confident in my tastes. It was a time when any rendering which elicited a full blown explanation of its concept was best received. For example, a play with the depiction of the cutthroat realities of life, a fiction with a definite explanation at the end or a painting with painstakingly achieved photo realism. Fortunately a realization of my narrow perceptions came to me pretty quick, and I refreshed my entire outlook towards art. Now I started expecting more than realism or something beyond realism from any art form. And photography? Where previously I considered it to be only an ‘aid’ painters used to achieve photo realism, now as photo realism in paintings lost its sheen, I reevaluated my views about this form of art. From strident reflections of social concerns to silent spectators of unseen worlds, pictures are certainly playing a vital role in my overall understanding of imagery in the process of creating art.


I like Ansel Adams’ quote which says “A good photograph is knowing where to stand”. Accomplished Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky not only knows where to stand but also knows when to stand :)


Marble stone quarries, mines, railroads that cross obscure terrains or mass production factories in China, autobahns, heaps of used tires, ship breaking yards of Bangladesh – Burtynsky goes to these worlds that are sometimes unknown, unseen or even inconvenient to project. His pictures which sometimes appear quiet, at other times appear like frontline protestors. His photographs are like non objective compositions which take you along on a mind boggling voyage of the two dimensions. 


It is not that I do not approve of photo realistic painters, but when I see photography like that of Edward Burtynsky’s, I wonder what it is that painters are trying to achieve by recreating in paint, that which photographers have already captured with great spontaneity and poignancy.


My Sincere thanks to Edward Burtynsky and Marcus Schubert from the office of Edward Burtynsky for permissions.

10 comments:

thige said...

Bonjour Debu, votre article est une merveilleuse quête poétique de l'art, vers l'art et, dans l'art parce qu'il est un poème ,superbe :-)

Mary Zeran said...

debu...
I thought I had become a follower but, apparently not...sigh...
Anyway, fantastic photos. Gorgeous. Thank you so much for posting these!

onkar said...

Wow...Amazing photos....!!

Debu Barve said...

Thig, Mary, Onkar,

Thank you all.

Andrew Graeme Gould said...

Very interesting points you make in this post, Debu, and the images really do have an outstanding quality to them. I'm particularly taken by the last two.

Gabrielle Jones said...

I also have a book by this photographer and he changed the way I see the landscape, and photography, in general. Thanks for posting (and for becoming a follower on my blog!)

Debu Barve said...

Dear Andrew,

Hope all is well at your end. Thanks for your remarks.

Debu Barve said...

Dear Gabrielle,
Thank you so much for your remarks. You really have a nice blog.

Gopi Puthran said...

Excellent post Debu. And what a point you've made! The initial infatuation of enthusiastically conforming to any one style of expression be it realistic or absurdist slowly paves way for accepting newer not so rigid forms of expressions. And the fun is to discover different dimensions/insights while exploring them patiently.

Debu Barve said...

Gopi

Thanks for your remark. Yes, this understanding comes with time. At young age, no one can convince you to be 'open for ideas'.;)