Mental Floss

Photography: Manufactured Landscapes

Chris Higgins

Photographer Edward Burtynsky is behind the 10,000 Year Photograph, an effort to make a photographic print that can last for the eponymous ten thousand years. But obviously that's not his first project; he's well-known for photographing human-transformed landscapes around the world. He's also the subject of the 2006 documentary Manufactured Landscapes, which is definitely worth a look for photography fans.

Burtynsky gave a TED Talk in 2005, which is now available online. The talk features a bunch of his remarkable photography, with a particular focus on his visit to China, where he photographed massive reservoir projects, giant factories, and enormous steelworks. It's amazing stuff, both visually and because of its human effects. Have a look below (though for this one, you might want to download the MPEG-4 and watch it fullscreen...). Note that one of the most remarkable segments is at about 18:30, when Burtynsky shows a factory worker assembling circuit breakers at a frankly unbelievable speed.