Some of the shots are simply stunning, more akin to abstract art than photojournalism. From Australian mines to Azerbaijani wells, and
Now for those of us interested in issues of corporate responsibility such ambiguity is nothing new. Balancing the good with the bad, the value creation for some with the value destruction for others, is what much of what our field is all about. But Burtynsky takes this a little further. By seeking to absorb us in the global experience of oil, by joining up the dots in ways that make us want to learn more about what we’re looking at, what we are … yes, enjoying, he draws into the debate not just business ethics nerds like Crane and Matten, but also people that might like a good picture but who might never otherwise give much of a second thought to the ‘oil problem’.
Burtynsky’s exhibition, which is showing simultaneously in
“In 1997 I had what I refer to as my oil epiphany. It occurred to me that the vast, human-altered landscapes that I pursued and photographed for over twenty years were only made possible by the discovery of oil and the mechanical advantage of the internal combustion engine. It was then that I began the oil project. Over the next ten years I researched and photographed the largest oil fields I could find. I went on to make images of refineries, freeway interchanges, automobile plants and the scrap industry that results from the recycling of cars. Then I began to look at the culture of oil, the motor culture, where masses of people congregate around vehicles, with vehicle events as the main attraction. These images can be seen as notations by one artist contemplating the world as it is made possible through this vital energy resource and the cumulative effects of industrial evolution.”
Growing up in