Göttingen : Steidl ; New Orleans : NOMA, New Orleans Museum of Art, 2013.
On the occasion of an exhibition held at New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, in association with the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, October 5, 2013-January 12, 2014.
"This book explores humanity's increasingly stressed relationship with the world's most vital natural resource in a series of photographs made by Canadian artist, Edward Burtynsky. Over the past five years, Burtynsky has travelled across the globe, from the Gulf of Mexico to the shores of the Ganges, while weaving together an ambitious representation of water's ever more fragmented lifecycle. In colourful aerial images, many bordering on the edge of complete abstraction, Burtynsky traces the various roles that water plays in modern life; as a source of healthy ecosystems and energy, as a key element in cultural and religious rituals, and as a rapidly depleting resource. Many of the images focus our attention not on water itself but on the systems that humans have put in place in order to harness it, shape it and control it. Photographs of maze-like stepwells in India, massive dam construction and aquaculture in China, manufactured waterfront housing projects in Florida and irrigation systems in the American West are presented alongside parched landscapes, dried river regions and ominously-coloured salt and shrimp farms. Many of these photographs are Burtynzky's most abstract images yet; pivot irrigation plots are carefully crafted into totemic arrangements of geometry and dryland farming fields are transformed into dizzying collections of biomorphic forms. These images, sometimes elegant, sometimes haunting, hover between the worlds of painting and photography, forming a compelling global portrait of water that functions as an open-ended question about humanity's past, present, and future relationship with the natural world."--Book jacket.