SOME/IMAGE : 'QUARRIES' BY EDWARD BURTYNSKY
Edward Burtynsky's series “Quarries” are photographs of different quarries from all the over the world. They are photographed from afar and up close and capture the presence of humans and technology in a juxtaposition to the natural landscape.
The depiction of technology and humanity within the images is dwarfed by the overwhelming grandeur of the Quarries. The man manipulated rocks are monumental in size and recall the ancient Pyramids in Egypt or the Mayan temples in South America. The geometric formations, that have been cut
away at over the years appear as enormous sculptures or parts of the organic architecture. Here, our bodies are dwarfed by the unyielding scale, the space relentlessly dictates our body and how we respond to it. “Rock of Ages #15” captures light and dark grey rocks with a rich patina that protrude vertically into large rectangular prisms. This inherently contrasts with the human presence within the image such the as tools and machines. The landscape doesn't fit in the frame and rather extends beyond in a limitless capacity. This entrenches the polylithic landscape as something immeasurable and as a commander of our being.
Furthermore, absence rather than presence within the images ostensibly appears of great importance. The Quarries suggest what once was; a mountain that had long been standing for thousands of years which has now been transformed through rigorous carving. The rocks reveal their own process of creation, they are a product of subtraction rather than addition. Human technology that is actively used for elimination and removal is filtrated throughout the images communicating a vague, distance narrative of the Quarries. Burtynsky suggests this with
the photograph 'Carrara Marble Quarries #3'. The image exposes parts of the mountain that has not been touched by the hands of man and which remains in its natural state with even plants caressing the rock. This unscathed part of the mountain lays in direct contrast to the centre which has been carved away by the Quarry workers and their technology to create these empty and inverted areas. This negative space serves as a reminder for what now is not apparent, to ultimately conjure up an uncanny link to the past.