Born in St. Catharines, Ontario in 1955, Edward Burtynsky graduated from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto with a B.A. in Photographic Arts. In 1985 he founded Toronto Image Works, a training centre, darkroom rental facility, custom lab and digital imaging centre.
An important figure in contemporary Canadian photography, Burtynsky photographs the industrialized landscape. His subjects include mines, quarries, tailing ponds, recycling yards, oil fields, and refineries. Full-colour and large-scale, his exquisitely detailed and exactingly rendered works document the changing relationship of humankind to nature, through the industries that we have built. Neither celebrating nor condemning industry, Burtynsky strives through his photography to mediate between the life we lead and the places that allow us to lead that life.
The works of Edward Burtynsky have been widely exhibited in North America and abroad and are represented in numerous public and private collections. He currently lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.
In 2004, Burtynsky won the Roloff Beny Photography Book Award for his self-published book Before the Flood, about China's Three Gorges Dam project. He was also one of three, along with famed rock star and global activist, Bono, to win the inaugural TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Prize 2004. Winners of the TED Prize are given the opportunity to fulfill three wishes of global significance by teaming with major companies.