BBC Culture

Photographer shows fractured life of our planet’s water

  • Xiaolangdi Dam #2, Yellow River, Henan Province, China, 2011

    Photographer Edward Burtysnky has made a career out of documenting the resources that define our planet, and the way industry has scarred the landscape, most famously in the series Oil, which looked at how our use of the substance has transformed – and often disfigured – the environment. (Photos: Edward Burtynsky, Courtesy Flowers Gallery, London / Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto)

  • Pivot Irrigation #1, High Plains, Texas Panhandle, USA, 2011

    Burtysnky’s latest project, Water, looks at the way humanity has used the planet’s most precious resource.

  • Ölfusá River #1, Iceland, 2012

    The Canadian spent six years travelling the world looking at the way our use of water had changed landscapes.

  • Colorado River Delta #2, Near San Felipe, Baja, Mexico, 2011

    The first part of the series, Distress, shows landscapes where water is in short supply, and focuses on arid regions near the Gulf of Mexico and the Colorado River delta, where water diversion has caused desertification.

  • Xiaolangdi Dam #1, Yellow River, Henan Province, China, 2011

    The second part of the series, Control, looks at how the human race has harnessed the power of water to use as a tool of civilisation and industry.

  • Greenhouses, Almira Peninsula, Spain, 2010

    Many of the photos in the series are taken from the air, and show the effects of our use of water on the Earth’s landscapes, such as these greenhouses in Spain.

  • Irrigation / Suburb, South of Yuma, Arizona, USA, 2011

    Another part of the exhibition deals with water’s agricultural uses, and how human intervention has changed the shape of landscapes.

  • Rice Terraces #2, Western Yunnan Province, China, 2012

    Another part turns its attention on China, where aquaculture has become an important part of the economy.

  • Stepwell #4, Sagar Kund Baori, Bundi, Rajasthan, India, 2010

    Waterfront looks at humanity’s relationship with water and how our communities interact with waterways, including the massive Kumbh Mela festival in India, where devotees flock to the sacred waters of the Ganges.

  • Glacial Runoff #1, Skeidararsandur, Iceland, 2012

    The final part of the series, Source, looks at water sources far from human encroachment, such these glacier streams in Iceland. The exhibition is at Flowers Gallery in London from 16 October til 23 November.