291 Film Company Cinematic Television

Landscape as Muse

Season Three - Episode 39

Atacama Desert (Chile) with Edward Burtynsky
There are few photographers today whose images summarize the most imperative issues of our time while leaving gallery audiences aghast. In every image that Edward Burtynsky photographs there is something that speaks to what we are all thinking but are powerless to voice. His photographs of Sudbury’s nickel mines, Bangladesh’s shipbreaking yards, and China’s Three Gorges Dam are fast becoming icons that testify to the scale and scope of our legacy on this planet.

In this episode, Edward Burtynsky travels to South America and Chile’s Atacama Desert — one of the driest places on earth. Here he photographs mine sites: both derelict and active. The Chuquicamata copper mine in the heart of the Atacama is the largest open-pit mine on the planet. At over 800 meters deep, the overwhelming scale of this place is the focus of Burtynsky’s lens:

My work is about a lament for a loss – showing what has gone missing, but in a way that allows those places to actually enter our consciousness, and to hopefully start a dialogue...