African Studies, Edward Burtynsky — Anaïs Castro

[Fall 2023]

By Anaïs Castro


African Studies
Edward Burtynsky
Göttingen, Steidl, 2022, 208 pages

Edward Burtynsky’s most recent book, African Studies, is a visually stunning journey across the second-largest and widely misunderstood continent that is Africa, and the forces of industrialization and globalization that are shaping its diverse landscapes. Burtynsky enlisted esteemed collaborators on the project – Deborah Bräutigam, Marc Mayer, and Azu Mwagbogu – whose written contributions help situate the geopolitical context of Africa, its complex relationship with China, and Burtynsky’s artistic impact. The book comprises more than 150 photographs taken over a seven-year period, organized in thematic chapters: “Landscape,” “Salt,” “Extraction,” “Agriculture,” “Settlements / Urbanization,” and “China in Africa.” Most of these are topics that Burtynsky has tackled previously; he has long been interested in portraying what he describes as “the large-scale human systems that impress themselves upon the land.” But rather than simply inviting viewers to confront the consequences of global economic systems, his goal here is to highlight the complexities and contradictions that define these consequences within the particular context of Africa…

[ Complete issue, in print and digital version, available here: Ciel variable 124 – SEEING THROUGH IMAGES ]
[ Complete article, in digital version, available here: African Studies, Edward Burtynsky — Anaïs Castro ]