Post comments on the work of the two photographers
As I viewed the two websites of Jordan and Burtynsky, I saw that the common theme was naked nature and how it was very changed by humankind. The photographs were very moving and said so much from such simple photos. In Chris Jordan’s ‘Midway: Message from the Gyre ’ there are the carcasses of baby albatrosses and in the stomach there are many man-made plastic bottle caps, cigarette lighters, buttons etc. Seeing this made me feel such guilt because humankind created these products for our own benefit yet it is killing our wildlife. The bird’s mother misinterpreted these toxic plastic caps for food, how would she have known any better? We know better than to liter these plastic bottles, lighters, etc. but it is human carelessness and laziness that is our biggest fault while nature is the victim. In Edward Burtynsky’s ‘Railcuts’ it shows the beautiful yet simple mountainous landscapes in British Columbia but there is something wrong with these photos. All of these photographs have a dramatic railway cut through the mountains that distracts my eye. These man-made railways take away from the natural beauty of the scene and expresses to me that maybe humankind should leave some things untouched, if that is possible. I also looked at Edward Burtynsky’s ‘Water’ and it showed disgusting pictures of the oil spill that happened at the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. I don’t know if it was because this event was rather recent or because it was highly publicized that I felt the most guilt from. I felt guilt because nature was ruined and I also have a car so I, in turn, buy gas for my car which drives up the need for oil. The works of both Jordan and Burtynsky made me think and reflect on my own personal actions to help the environment. These sites were very expressive and got the point across that humankind needs to change our habits before it is too late.
The two websites of art that Jordan and Burtynsky posted are very moving. There is beauty in some pictures, but in others they make you think about how much we are actually harming nature. One example of nature’s great beauty is shown in Burtynsky's 'Colorado River Delta.' The river almost looks like a giant tree, where the main body of water represents the trunk, all the little streams and creeks reaching out are all the branches and twigs of the tree. It's a neat picture that shows how nature is really suppose to look when it is untouched by mankind. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the destruction to nature caused by mankind. Jordan shows us this through his ‘Midway Album.’ Each picture shows another bird that was killed by our own mistakes, mistakes that don’t need to happen. In each stomach it shows different types of litter that could have easily been thrown in the nearest trashcan. Those humans chose to throw it on the ground, and didn’t mean to harm the birds but that was the end result. Humans as a whole need to wake up and realize all the damage we are causing to nature. If we don’t, our grandkids may not be able to experience nature the same way we have.
Burtynsky and Jordan have very exhilarating photos on their respective websites. The way Burtynsky puts the vibrant orange against the grey/black landscape in his Nickel Tailings photographs at first make one think that they are glimpses of natural disasters. This was very shocking to me because he could make anything beautiful seem to be absolutely terrifying. Jordan's images of Katrina's Wake made me very emotional. To see the destruction Hurricane Katrina left behind is extremely scary. I can not even imagine what the people of New Orleans had to go through. Jordan's picture help me understand just a little bit more about what a natural disaster can put a family through.
By observing Edward Burtynsky and Chris Jordan's photographs I followed a similar message between the two that expressed the way humans treat the environment. Burtynsky shares large images which give an ambiguous meaning to the photographs. It was clear to look at the photograph as one meaning or look beyond the surface to a deeper level of understanding. For example, Burtynsky's "Homestead" #27 and #30 focus on how much human's rely on Earth's natural resources such as trees and water to create a stable living condition for themselves. Burtynsky expresses that when we use natural resources we should take care of the Earth in order for the natural resources to be reused. Jordan's photographs concentrate on one specific theme which is effects of harming nature such as plants and animals. The "Midway" photograph expresses how polluting little by little effects other living creatures. Jordan's "Cigarette Butts" focuses on how polluting effects plants and our environment all together. Jordan's themes are both similar in the "Midway" and "Cigarette Butts" photographs but one focuses on animals while the other focuses on plants and natural resources.
After reviewing Burtynsky & Jordan's photography I have found a sense of complexity. Both photographers want the viewers to look beyond the photo and find the deeper meaning(s) they have captured. Burtynsky's photos reveal a sense of hurt and feeling of being overwhelmed by common disaster. He captures highs and lows of the world with many details and eye-catching objects. Each photo has potential significance, yet maybe some confusion about the chaos in our world today. Jordan's photos are mostly made up of smaller photos or graphics put together to create a larger image. These photos are symbols of disaster in the world and even our human race. In both photographers photos we see fear, tragedy, and maybe even hope in some. Overall, these photos are beauty at first glance and meant to leave the viewer with a deeper meaning/thought of their collection. The mutual theme in these photos is beauty found in misfortune of our world as we know it.
By observing what Burtynsky and Jordan portray, I found that they both relay the same message: humans destroy nature. Looking at Burtynsky, he demonstrates his work by explaining how it makes him feel. We get the emotional side from Burtynsky's photographs. When I viewed Burtynsky's "Urban Mines" project, I saw the waste that human beings consume. We, as humans, take the little materialistic objects in life for granted. It seems like Burtynsky is saying if we matter why shouldn't the nature around us matter, too?
As for Jordan, he seems to be directing that same message as well, but in a blunt statement. He reveals with his "Running Numbers" project that we use too much of what we do not have; this message became coherent in the "Midway" photograph as well. All of our industrialized materials are basically being fed to poor innocent birds. Where as humans, we still go out of our way to put these unfortunate events out of our minds.
Burtynsky and Jordan gave a whole new level of meaning to what humans take a cursory glance at. They made me see that the world can be repulsive, but we can survive if we just stopped and looked a little deeper.
This is Anushka by the way!
Edward Burtynsky and Chris Jordan:
As I was looking at Burtynsky and Jordan’s photographs and reading about both of their work, I came to the conclusion that mankind destroys some of the most beautiful nature. As I observed Burtynsky’s “Oil,” photographs I realized how humans truly harm nature. The photos showed multiple areas where roads and oil plants were built, for our automobiles. I have a car back home that I use quite a bit. Realizing how much I harm our environment makes me feel very poorly for how I treat nature. We are taking away great amounts of natural resources, such as oil and gas, just to run our cars. One photo that caught my attention was the one of the pipes. I say the photo of the pipes because you barely even notice the beautiful forest that the pipes run through. My attention was immediately focused on following the pipes through the forest, rather than looking at the nature around the pipes. In Jordan’s “Midway” artwork, the photo of the albatross immediately made me stop and think. This photo made me realize how much I may have littered on accident while walking or running. It is very difficult to think that we harm animals in this way. I personally believe that no one should litter. These animals deserve every right to live just as much as people like us. I understand when sometimes you may accidently drop a wrapper, but if you do notice simply pick it up. If we were to all respect the law, we could keep nature alive, we could keep these animals alive. Both Jordan and Burtynsky try to make points. Yes, they like their photographs and would like the reader to enjoy them. However, they both seem to have a soft spot in their hearts for nature. They make their reader’s understand the ways that we are harming our environment by satisfying our needs.
Both Edward Burtynsky and Chris Jordan make a similar statement about nature. They are trying to get people to realize the effect we have on the world around us, but have different ways of going about it.
Chris Jordan shows us a familiar side of waste and pollution, like pictures with cell phones and plastic bags, and tries to show us the massive scale that everyday objects like those are wasted. These pictures I think sometimes say more about human nature, with pictures like thousands of credit cards making a statement about bankruptcy or pictures of barbies making a statement about plastic surgery.
Edward Burtynsky shows us a side of pollution and waste we don't often see. His pictures shows real landscapes that have been drastically affected by humans. He shows oil spills, quarries, farms, and overviews of neighborhoods. It allows us to see the actual physical effects of human interaction with nature.
Chris Jordan's photos tend to show causes more, like cells phone thrown out by day, plastic bags used, jet trails in the sky; while Edward Burtynsky's photos show us the effect, pollution in the sky and ocean or hundreds of severely altered landscapes.
Viewing both of these websites were very intriguing in which both were somewhat different but still correlated to each other in having the central theme of nature. Personally I got more out of Chris Jordan's photography. I say this because it was more of an eye opener for me. You never really realize the effect humans really are having on the environment until it's brought to your attention. I think pictures and visual media are a very good way of showing and depicting that. The baby albatross carcasses show how careless we as humans can be when we throw away our plastic. We hear so much about plastic going into waterways and places they shouldn't be going to and how that effects the animals and other nature in those environments, but to actually see it, is something totally different. I feel bad and somewhat responsible for the killing of these creatures. No, I may not have physically thrown a plastic cap into the water and watched it float away but somewhere down the road I might have been careless and not thrown away something properly and because of my carelessness and the carelessness of others these once living things had to suffer and die. What I got from the other pictures were that you never really know how much humans waste on a specific object and the way things are being consumed. These photographs were real eye openers for me. It's like you know about these type of things happening but never really pay close attention to them. But now that they're brought to my attention I feel more responsible for my actions and I feel as though I should be more careful in the way I handle the disposal of certain products as well as being more energy efficient and paying more attention to the energy and technology I use and dispose of everyday.
As I took the first look of the Water project by Edward Burtynsky, I was only paying attention to the extraordinary shapes and the special colors of the photographs. However, I soon realized all these “colors” on the ocean and the “water lines” on the dry land were the result of what human have done to the nature. We use but also pollute the limited resources on the earth every day, but no one really stop and think about the consequences. I was touched by the photo Navajo Reservation / Suburb when I saw how urban construction totally ruined the nature. The line in the middle of the picture wasn’t just separating the reservation from urban, but also separated us from the nature. Living on the land that full of the houses but little green; it’s ironic. Moreover, I think both Edward Burtnysky and Chris Jorden had a similar theme in their photos. While I was looking at the project of Running the Numbers by Chris, I found out I am able to zoom in all these photographs. As the distance was getting shorter, I saw the amazing scene. It was hard to believe that all the same small objects but with different colors combined together were able to create all these special views or nature’s look. However, I felt my mind was weighted down. The Caps Seurat, Over the moon, and Light bulbs were all reflecting one message, the waste of the resources. It is so common to have a credit card or a light bulb, but not many people have thought about the amount of resources we use daily. It was wonderful that Edward Burtynsky and Chris Jorden actually showed us the world from a different angle to remind us how harmful it is with all this pollution and wasting resources.
Upon looking at the two websites of Edward Burtynsky and Chris Jordan, I would conclude that my view on humanity and how we sustain life is only destroying it. One of the pictures that I came across while looking at Burtynsky's page was the "VW Lot #1" which had a large parking lot with tons of cars. What came across my mind while looking at this is the question "what are we going to do when we have no more space to store all the used up materials?" Not only that but I felt so much shame for humanity because we have idea's about innovating and making the future better, but we fail to look at what happens when our resources are all used up. From this, it leads to Jordan's website with a picture of one hundred million toothpicks that is enough to resemble the amount of trees cut in the U.S. yearly just for junk mail. Instantly, looking at this picture made my mind sink into despair and shake my head from left to right because we are destroying the source of our life, oxygen. We survive off of oxygen, but destroy the source of life for "junk" mail. Also, considering the fact that its easier to destroy then to create, the same goes for trees in which they take many years to grow large enough for humanity to consume. In conclusion, I believe that in the future when we finally realize that we have been taking the resources of this world for granted, it'll be too late.
Looking through Chris Jordan's "Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait", the average American reader should start thinking about how they affect the Earth as a whole with each simple, mindless action. Every cigarette littered, every bottle of water consumed, every toothpick used after dinner adds up to only a portion of how much the United States unnecessarily wastes. The correlation between this gallery and Edward Burtynsky's work is pointing out there must be a change in how Americans live. Jordan demonstrates what Americans can do to pitch in with efforts during their daily life by using their own waste, while Burtynsky photographs the locations that contribute the most toward the world’s deterioration, such as oil refineries. Both of the projects these artists created should influence Americans to clean up their act and try to envision a more environmentally friendly Earth for the future. If we don’t begin soon, our actions will catch up to us.
When I examined both mens websites I kind of got two different approaches to each of their styles. Burtynsky's style is one where the pictures don't look like they have been edited much, he wants the viewers to see the pictures as they really are. Jordan on the other hand has made all of his pictures look more retro and things you wouldn't see in person. Both display the same mentalities on how people effect the world with some of their pictures. Both make strong statements through their pictures that people need to be more mindful of what we put in the earth and also take out.
Edward Burtynsky and Chris Jordan both try and show pollution and how far our country has come with technology and the negative effects of it and how our civilization is changing. The one main photo of Chris Jordan that stuck out to me was the cell phone picture. There is a lot of going in this picture. Jordan is trying to address how much waste cell phone’s cause and how people rely on their cell phone’s. We live in a world where people always need their cell phone to text and call their friends and family and this picture represents that because of the magnitude of cell phone’s that are represented in this picture.
The photo that stuck out to me by Edward Burtynsky was the oil photo where it shows all the oil rigs. This photo represents how our civilization is depending more on oil and gas to power cars. Also I get from this picture that if one of these oil rigs malfunction it can cause a big problem like an oil spill. With all the dependency on oil and gas comes a risk factor and that is represented in this picture. .
Edward Burtynsky’s work is conveying that while humans are trying to use nature to better our living, we are not taking into account the effect we are having on nature itself. For example, Burtynsky’s WATER gallery, are pieces of art that show how the industry is using and abusing water supply. Burtynsky then states, “While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding, and very thirsty civilization, we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways…engineering our own demise.” Burtynsky is saying if we use up nature; water in this case, then we can only blame ourselves if there is no water and/or nature left to rely upon. Burtynsky also shows in his WATER gallery what life would be like if there was no water at all, which is the demise of all the species of Earth. Burtynsky wants humans to reflect on where our resources are coming from and to be consciously aware of what is going on around us. Watching Burtynsky’s interview on The Hour, he also talks about how we are changing nature and altering it; making an old landscape into a new landscape. Sometimes we can't help the new changes and how we are stuck with them now because of modern society. Burtynsky doesn't think his art should fix environmental issues, but open up meaning to the issues happening.
Chris Jordan’s art as a big picture is very beautiful and simple, but as you get closer it becomes more intricate and complex. It depicts the wastefulness and over consummation of humans. Jordan’s art brings out the hardcore facts in life that people don't really notice because of a mask or ignorance covering it. For example, Jordan’s piece called Caps Seurat shows how 400,000 bottle caps equal the average number of plastic bottles consumed in the United States every minute. The picture is of people having a loving day in the park. As you get closer to the picture you see everything in the picture is made of bottle caps. Jordan wants his art to help people make a connection to the meaning of how destructive the industry and wastefulness can be to nature. Jordan’s art makes a bigger impact and longer impression that looking at statistics in the news.
I found it very intriguing the way that Chris Jordan portrayed human waste. While looking through the artworks galleries I noticed the unique qualities of each photograph. The artwork gallery "Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption" specifically caught my eye. I found it amazing to have a visual of how much of certain products we as American's actually use. The pictures in this album made it seem like the waste we build up just sits and pollutes the earth. For example picture #25 seems to be just a big pile of things we use everyday like cans, bottles, toilet paper rolls, plastic milk jugs, ect. I believe that we as consumers are oblivious as to how much we waste or hurt the environment by items we use every day with out thinking. I also really enjoyed Chris's artwork "In Katrina's Wake" it evoked emotion as if you were in the storm. The pictures show the complete and total destruction of a natural disaster. This experience is something that not everyone will go through so I find it interesting how Chris tries to help his viewers understand through pictures. By looking through the pictures and seeing things like toilets and mattresses everywhere made feel like I was going through the loss of the people in New Orleans during the storm. Edward Burtynsky took a completely different approach to show how American's waste is hurting the environment. He had many pictures that showed the pollution in the water. The angle he choice for each pictures really portrays the amount of oil we leak into the water which in return hurts the marine life in the water. Many American's don't even realize the items we use every day to better our lives also have negative effects. In picture #3 it showed a fire between two boat in the water. I think it's interesting he chose to add a picture that also showed the dangers of the oil in the water for other American's involved. Even though Chris and Jordan show two different ways to show human waste I believe both had a very strong message for the viewer to pick up.
I would agree that both Burtynsky’s and Jordan’s paintings focused on the destruction of nature. Often when thinking of nature the beauty of it comes to mind. However Burtynsky and Jordan highlight an important aspect of how nature may not always appear beautiful. This can be especially true when nature and humankind intermingle. I also enjoyed the different aspects each artist took. In Burtynsky’s, the viewer gets a look at the big picture and the overall impact on nature, where in Jordan’s one gets a look at the underlying causes which are often not as seen. Both offer great symbolism and meaning to the message being portrayed. One of the more interesting clues that I found was the role humans play in these paintings. We are seen as the main cause of why nature gets destroyed or goes bad. And although we are natural as well, we are somewhat contaminating this Earth, instead of working alongside it.
In reviewing Jordan and Burtynsky photographs, I was able see the different aspects of nature. While Burtynsky photos captured the beautiful side of nature, majority of the photos by Jordan, highlighted the harmful impacts humans contribute to the natural world. It seems that both artists depict the different sides of nature, but in the end both artists truly give the same message. The pictures detail the endless natural beauty associated with nature. As the audience, however, the artists give us the bitter truth, and that is nature can be destroyed if we as humans are careless about it.
In Jordan’s photo’s, the one picture that captivated and really caught my attention was the Light Bulbs. In the beginning, I thought the photo was just another image of the galaxy. However if you look closely you can see the light bulbs, and I thought the description greatly explained and captured the essence of how much energy we waste. It really touched home, especially since I use technology often. Although the pictures reel in and grab our attention, I think the moral that this artists is trying to pass along is a lot deeper than just bringing awareness to how much humanity discards. In most of Jordan’s photos is about encouraging, it’s almost as if the artists is challenging us after bringing about awareness to the dangers presented by pollution and wastage. I believe the artists is saying “now that you know, what will you do about this problem?”
On the other hand, Burtynsky photos were surreal. It was hard to believe these photos were a part of our Earth. These photos illustrated the different levels of nature. Burtynsky delved into the depths of the Earth, and most of his photos show that. Some of the photos focused on the textures of nature. While others concentrated on natural habitats. This artist’s message was truly about preserving the Earth’s natural image. Again, you can say that this artist is somewhat challenging us as a viewing audience, and telling us to solve the problems that Mother Earth is facing. All in all, I thought these photographs did a great job in bringing attention to a problem and challenging us to stand up for what’s right.
By visiting Edward Burtynsky and Chris Jordan sites, I feel like both artists main purpose is to show a nature around the world. The pictures are very uniques, it made me realize that every little waste that human nature is doing is hurting the nature. One of the unique picture shown in Chris Jordan’s ‘Unsinkable-2013’. That image depicts 67,000 mushroom clouds. Another unique piece of art is also from Chris Jordan ‘Caps Seurat’. That image depicts 400,000 plastic bottle caps, it almost seems like the picture is made out of recycle items. That number of plastic bottle caps is equal to the average number of plastic bottles consumed in the United States every minute! Few of the picture from the Midway-artwork was really sad and shame, that birds end up picking up the humans litter and end up with the death. I think everyone should pick up their own littered items and try to recycle them or in a waste basket. By looking at this artworks, I would conclude that people needs to be smart about what they are taking from the nature and what they are throwing into the nature.
As I viewed both sites, I found the notion of artificial nature was strongly displayed. The nature that is not organic to what it was once existed, and those artificial nature was created by the most poweful yet parasitic creature in the world; human. Some of Edward Burtynsky picture implies the powerful impact of human to the nature, and the same time Chris Jordan show the parasitic site of human. Human shaped the nature around to what they think how the nature supposed to look like and this showed in Edward Burtynsky's Silver Lake Operation. Human can transform such large area of land into what we called as 'mines' and the mines are keep on growing larger as human grows. In addition, Chris Jordan Running Numbers show how human demand more and more nature’s resources to support their life. The light bulbs depicted 320,000 bulbs that the US used every minutes and the Oil Barrel showed 28,000 barrel of oil used by US every 2 minutes. Again the pictures showed how parasitic human are, they demanded huge amount of resources to their current host; The Earth. The earth, or the nature as what we considered often was being shaped as if we are the most powerful creatures in this planet Earth. We are not aware how brittle we are and how we are really depend on nature. We need to change our habit and thought about nature, nature does not depend on us, but we are the one who depend on nature. So are all these action we had done to nature acceptable?
This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on September 2, 2013 4:27 PM.
"The Land Ethic" - Aldo Leopold; "It All Turns on Affection" - Wendell Berry is the next entry in this blog.
Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.