Nature thrives as humankind pauses: Burtynsky's ode to the dynamic cusp of winter and spring
In spring 2020 Edward Burtynsky (born 1955) found himself, like most of us, in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time Burtynsky was in his beloved Grey County, Ontario--an area of wild beauty where he made his earliest photos--and he used his isolation there to reflect and create: with a new camera in hand he began recording nature in images which, in his words, are an "affirmation of the complexity, wonder and resilience of the natural order in all things."
Over the past 40 years Burtynsky has compellingly explored the shocking variety and scale of industrialized landscapes, from oil refineries to quarries, from aquaculture to salt extraction. Yet in Natural Order
he captures a moment when humankind has been temporarily stopped in its tracks, businesses suspended and economies disrupted--a moment for nature to breathe. These photos of trees and other flora show nature on the dynamic cusp between winter and spring, a time of melting snow, sprouting shoots and the promise of bounty: for Burtynsky, "an enduring order that remains intact regardless of our own human fate."