I was impressed when my younger brother told me he was spending his Saturday visiting an exhibition. Amazed by his proactivity I joined him on his mission into central London.
The Photographers’ Gallery just off Oxford Street reopened in May after an eighteen month refurbishment. This space is the country’s original independent gallery devoted to photography and the top two floors of the building are currently exhibiting Edward Burtynsky’s epic photos examining our dependence on oil.
The images depict landscapes affected by oil distribution and extraction – vast, often ugly views captured exquisitely by Burtynsky. The immense works are so detailed they look almost velvety in texture and are as awe-inspiring close up as they are from a distance. This Canadian photographer tells a story through each individual picture. Through “aerial views of oil fields and highways ribboning across the landscape, derelict oil derricks and mammoth oil-tanker shipbreaking operations, we are confronted with the evidence of our dependence on this finite resource.” They are very still and poignant photographs, people are almost entirely absent from the images creating a curious atmosphere and perspective.
Burtynsky has travelled the world to find these unique expansive spaces that show the rarely seen effects oil has on our planet. Aside from being utterly spectacular photographs, this exhibition is a lesson and reality check from which we could all benefit.
Continues until 1 July. Free entry. Visit website here.
It is worth visiting the shop downstairs too for weird, wonderful and rare film, cameras and books.