from the world's big
How to Create Amazing Images
Edward Burtynsky is a photographic artist whose depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of over fifty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Bibliotèque Nationale in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. His imagery explores the intricate link between industry and nature, combining the raw elements of mining, quarrying, manufacturing, shipping, oil production and recycling into eloquent, highly expressive visions.
Question: What is your working process like?
Edward Burtynsky: Well the process I think is unique to the subject. If you were to look at the body of my work it moves around from one subject to another, so it could be mining itself where we remove the orb from the land or it could be tailings, which is a byproduct of mining. It could be quarries. It could be refineries. It could be a dam in China or now it could be, you know, the cities being built in China and each one of those things I approach first as conceptual, like why that, why that and not that. You know like "How do I go from a general idea to this specific place in which I’m going to make a photograph of and there is a whole bunch of criteria I might put to it. Is it visual? Is it interesting? Is there a sense of scale within it? Is there any particular reason?" You know "Why photograph that intersection in LA and not another one?" Well yes, it’s one of the biggest in the world and it was where the freeway began, so there are other components that I’ll use to determine where my target is that I’m going to go and try and photograph, but then once I understand like for instance when I did the refinery series I had never tried to photograph a refinery, but I went in there with my… first with a hand-held camera and just shot it, just walked through and responded utterly to the thing. I just whatever caught my attention. I’m not using four by five. I’m not slowing down. I’m walking through. I’m responding.
Then I’d go back and start working with a 4x5, using those kinds of touch points as a reference and then start to, you know, photograph and then I’d try all kinds of films to see how that subject and the light conditions in which that subject… you know would it be shiny? Would it be a cloudy, partly cloudy day? You know evening or sunrise. How does that subject react under the different times of day and light? What films? Do the colors, the palate of the thing I’m photographing, what film best responds to it? So I’d shoot all the different films that were available on the market. I’d make prints. I’d try different papers with it until I say here is the combination. Here is the film I’m going to use. This is my position to the subject. This is where in that subject I’m going to photograph. This is the paper I’m going to use to print it on.
Now I’ve established my form. I’ve established my working approach and then I’d start going back and I’d go back maybe five, six, seven times in that one first refinery then I developed a kind of a language that I felt I was comfortable with and then I said okay, now I’m going to try and find some other refineries that might bring other perspectives to it at different times that they were built, different things that they were refining and then I would add to that body of work until I felt okay, I feel I’ve exhausted this. I’ve somehow taken this visually as far as I can go. I don’t have anything else that I feel I need to say about this and then I might close a chapter to that project and go onto the… And that might take two or three years before I… by the time I get access into it, shoot it and some things like the refineries took about three years and I was pretty much done. Whereas, quarries I went on and off of quarries at different times over a period of 17 years, other projects, so it depends you know how long I want to do it may be determined by do I feel that there is more to be had.
Recorded June 21, 2010
Interviewed by Jessica Liebman
The photographer walks us through his process of finding subjects, scouting out locations and scenes, and looking for the best moment to take a photograph.
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.
- Outplacement is an underperforming $5 billion dollar industry. A new non-profit coalition by SkillUp intends to disrupt it.
- More and more Americans will be laid off in years to come due to automation. Those people need to reorient their career paths and reskill in a way that protects their long-term livelihood.
- SkillUp brings together technology and service providers, education and training providers, hiring employers, worker outreach, and philanthropies to help people land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries.
Source: McKinsey Global Institute analysis [PDF]<p>Work in understanding the skills at the heart of the new digital economy is leading to novel assessments that allow individuals to prove mastery to faithfully represent their abilities—but also to give weight and stackability to the emerging ecosystem of micro-credentials that make education more seamless across time and education providers. And we are seeing the beginnings of a renewal in the liberal arts, focused on building human skills in affordable ways that are accessible to many more individuals and far more effective.</p><p>Amidst these dark times, there is much opportunity to refresh the nation's education and training solutions to support the success of individuals and society writ large.</p>