Manufactured Landscapes

17 11 2010

Manufactured Landscapes was a documentary film about the photography of Edward Burtynsky and how it evolves over time. When the photographer first started taking pictures he was interested in landscapes and in taking photographs of nature. One day while walking in the woods he stumbled upon an old mine and was taken with how much the industrialization of these types of enterprises affects the view and shape of the natural landscape. He was inspired after this to take many pictures of industrialized areas such as rock and mineral quarries and different types of coal mines. He used his photography as a way to provide a visual representation of the way these human processes were effecting the earth and the environment around it. On his photography journey he eventually went to China and to the city of Shanghai. Here he was interested in capturing the industrialization and factory lives of the people who were making all of these goods from the minerals, irons and metals that he had photographed earlier. He was not only able to get some amazing footage of just how massive these industries are (his footage in the factory where they make the iron’s is what is pictured above). But he was also making a huge political and environmental statement with his art. I really enjoyed this movie not only because of its message about the exploitation of the environment for financial gain, but also because of its realistic approach to photography. The images he was capturing were very natural but they came across so deeply rooted in a message, even without their being any words to really imply it. My favorite part about the film was when they would zoom in on a particular person or small image within the photo but then they would zoom out and you would realize the actual scale of what you were seeing. It sometimes took my breath away at how massive some of the scenes were. This was a great film!

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