Edward Burtynsky


These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire - a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times.

Robert Polidori


Besides the obvious sheltering from the extremes of the elements, people make rooms to live in as if they are animated by an unconscious desire to return to a prenatal life, or even before that, to a soul life. This is what they exteriorize in rooms, their internal soul life, or less magically put, their personal values, if you will.

The photos in the show I did with Gilles Dusein were all these apartments where people had just recently died. Kids, mostly teenage boys, would just go in and break everything. I knew this painter, Larry Berzon, who used to make money as a real estate agent and who happened to manage this building where in the space of about a month three occupants had died, and he had access to those apartments. That's when I started to photograph those kinds of rooms, and I realized that they were quite powerful images. I did it again with Chernobyl and of course in New Orleans, and the actual type of damage or, say, habitat violation in each is of a different nature, but they're close neighbors. It's the same family of phenomena.

Excerpt from BOMBMSITE interview with Michèle Gerber Klein. BOMB 99/Spring 2007