Edward Burtynsky Photographs Farming in Monegros Spain

© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers, London Dryland Farming #13, Monegros County, Aragon, Spain, 2010

Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky is having a London moment. Not only are his familiar works on the oil crisis on view but he is also exhibiting a new series examining the impact of long-term farming in Monegros, Spain.

© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers, London Dryland Farming #21, Monegros County, Aragon, Spain, 2010

These photographs are looking at the tradition of dryland farming carried out over many generations in the north-eastern part of Spain. It's an agricultural region where the land is semi-arid, sparsely populated and prone to both droughts and high winds. The land is made up of sedimentary rock, gypsum, and clay-rich soil. The photographs show the impact of these conditions, as well as man's expanding foot print.

© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers, London Dryland Farming #8, Monegros County, Aragon, Spain, 2010

Burtynsky is shooting the photos from a helicopter, two thousand feet up: so high that there are almost no details to be identified. The topography looks like an abstract painting.

© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers, London Dryland Farming #27, Monegros County, Aragon, Spain, 2010

Despite a scarcity of water, generations of farmers have continued to farm, so the photos are a contrast between nature's untamed forces and man's attempts to harness it. The cracks and crevices form writhing lines with deep earthy tones.

© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers, London Dryland Farming #31, Monegros County, Aragon, Spain, 2010

Burtynsky says:

I am always interested in how humans shape the landscape. All my work is really about the pristine landscape being pushed back as a result of the expanding human footprint. And I kept thinking of farming as one of the largest terraforming events that humans have exercised on the planet.

Tags: Photography | Spain | Water Conservation | Water Crisis

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