Recently, I’ve become enraptured with some of the great American documentary/street level photographers : Stephen Shore, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, William Eggleston, Gary Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz, just to name a few. These artists could transform the banal and ordinary moments and aspects of American life (throughout the country) into something tangibly epic and beautiful. Photobooks like Frank’s The Americans and Shore’s American Surfaces have become canonized representations of American life and culture over the past half-century.
I’ve spent a bit of time searching for similar artists in Canada, but have come up empty handed (if you know of anyone, please tell me in the comments!). Interestingly, Ed Burtynsky (I mentioned him at Terry before – here) is currently showing, “An Uneasy Beauty – Photographs of Western Canada” at the Surrey Art Gallery. Burtynsky’s work focuses on landscapes altered by human development (quarries, the Three Gorges project, industry). From the Surrey Art Gallery’s description:
Edward Burtynsky: An Uneasy Beauty – Photographs of Western Canada
January 17 – March 22, 2009
Exhibition reception: January 24, 2 – 4pm
Film Screening: February 1, 2:30pm
Artist Talk: February 12, 7pm
Considered one of Canada’s most important living photographers, Edward Burtynsky creates photographs that are “reflecting pools of our time,” dramatically recording the impact of industrial progress and human development. This exhibition features large format photographs, many never previously exhibited in British Columbia. They show both the vast wilderness and impressive landscapes of western Canada, and the monumental scale of the resource Industries that underlie the Canadian economy.