Edward Burtynsky has traveled the world documenting humankind's incursions on the natural landscape--quarries, ship breaking fields, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams. His internationally-acclaimed large-format photographs are both beautiful and horrifying, arresting and undeniable, offering a visceral entry point into thinking about industrialization, sustainability, and the human condition.
On a recent trip to China, filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal accompanied Burtynsky as he documented endless factories, dam building projects, waste dumping grounds, and other "evidence and effects of that country's massive industrial revolution." The resultant film, Manufactured Landscapes, stands as a must-see for anyone interested in our impact on the world, and will have particular resonance to industrial designers moving forward into a future where the ramifications of mass production become severe to the point of crisis.
Ed and Jennifer chat with Allan Chochinov about the twists and turns of how the film came to be, what it's like to try to get permission to shoot some of the photographs and footage, the challenges (and limits) of editorial mission, and seeing the work on the big screen.