The traces of mankind…

[we] come from nature.…There is an importance to [having] a certain reverence for what nature is because we are connected to it… If we destroy nature, we destroy ourselves.” – Edward Burtynsky


Photo credit: Edward Burtynsky

When you think about how little a human-being is compared to the size of our planet it’s only hard to imagine what great impact we still have. For millennia human-beings have exploited the resources of nature. In the course of time mankind has developed more and more modern methods to reach even more resources. To achieve this new technologies and machines have been created. The number of the natural resources people need for their constantly changing lifestyle is also increasing. We keep changing our planet and leaving traces every day, even if we may not really be aware of it.

The photo book “Essential Elements” by Edward Burtynsky, however, clearly makes us aware of these traces. For more than four decades he has focused on the project behind all this and traveled around the world. His photos highlight how our planet is changing because of the hands and mainly the machines of human beings. The photo book is full of impressive large-format photos and right when opening it you’ll get mesmerized. In his TED Talk the artist emphasized that it hadn’t been his intention to point a finger at mankind and show the kind of destruction caused by some of our achievements. Instead he wanted to point out the consequences and inspire a search for practices that would be more sustainable, such as recycling for example. To me his pictures are wonderful and frightening at the same time.

I can only recommend you the TED Talk with Edward Burtynsky as in my opinion everybody should deal with this issue. Because we all are in one or another way responsible for the big footprint we leave on our planet as human-beings.

You can find more photos by the artist on his website as well as on his Instagram account.


Photo credit: Edward Burtynsky


Photo: Edward Burtynsky

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