Edward Burtynsky travels the world trying to capture striking images of humanity’s impact on the planet, from the fossil-like shapes left behind by drills in a potash mine to the luminescent colours of lithium ponds.
The Canadian photographic artist has spent 40 years focusing on large-scale human activities such as mining, quarrying, agriculture and deforestation – but he says he doesn’t see himself as an environmentalist.
His latest project, Anthropocene, is a collaboration with film-makers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier, exploring the idea proposed by some scientists that a geological epoch shaped by human activity has begun.
It includes a travelling exhibition, a book and feature-length documentary, which was premiered last year in Canada and goes on theatrical release in the US next week.
Images: Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of Flowers Gallery, London / Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto
Video by Heather Sharp and Laura Foster