The Big Picture: An interview with Edward Burtynsky

As part of our ongoing partnership with Dailyserving, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Seth Curcio’s interview with Photographer Edward Burtynsky.

It’s often impossible to fully understand the big picture of industrialized development from the limited perspective of the consumer. Each day most of us in the western world go about our business, driving to and from work, using plastics made from petroleum, enjoying foods shipped in from thousands of miles away, without a thought of the very resource that makes this all possible — oil. The impact of oil has consistently reappeared in the work of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky for well over a decade. Burtynsky’s photographs often soar into the air, freeing us from our limited perspective, offering us the ability to better understand the scale and impact that this material has on contemporary life. It is only through this expansive perspective that we begin to understand the magnitude and consequence of our complicit actions. Recently, DailyServing founder Seth Curcio was able to speak to Burtynsky by phone about his current exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, titled Oil. During this conversation, we learn how Burtynsky’s research has altered his own relationship to oil, how he uses scale and perspective to shape our understanding of the industrialized world, and what lies ahead of us with the future of oil.

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