Notable: Edward Burtynsky: Pentimento/Gulf Oil Spill, Flowers Central, London

In Article, Black and White Photography, Exhibits, Photographer on January 23, 2011 at 9:47 am


Edward Burtynsky, ‘Shipbreaking #4 Field Proof’, Chittagong, Bangladesh

Interesting article in the Financial Times today by Francis Hodgson on Edward Burtynsky’s two approaches to oil spill photo shoots over the last decade.

At Flowers Central, in London’s Cork Street, there is a radical departure for Burtynsky, albeit of a retrograde kind. Pentimento (which means the action of a draughtsman revisiting his own work) is a series of large black and white reprints from the Type 55 Polaroids that Burtynsky made originally to check lighting and composition when he was producing his sequence on the Chittagong shipbreakers in Bangladesh. Type 55 produced both a print and a very fine-grained negative, and the new series takes delight in every blemish and crease from the original, including gashes of missing emulsion, stress marks and other scars of the passage of time, all seen in that enduringly suggestive and recognisable “frame” of the detritus of the Polaroid chemistry around the image.

Upstairs, Burtynsky is showing a series of aerial views of last year’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The weakness is that these are aerial views, blown up large, and even Burtynsky doesn’t always have all the control he needs from the unstable platform of a small plane.Still, Burtynsky has managed here and there to produce a sea surface as it has rarely been photographed before.

For the show review: Financial Times

For a slide show of the Polaroids: Edward Burtynsky: Pentimento

For the Gulf Oil Images: Flowers Gallery

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