Unnatural Landscapes: The Human Impact on Earth's Surface [Slide Show]

Edward Burtynsky's photography shows how mining, farming and other industrial activities have altered landscapes around the world

Courtesy of Edward Burtynsky (

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It’s no secret that, as nations continue to grow and develop, they alter the face of the Earth. Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s large-format photographs show how industrial development is restructuring terrains across the world. His work has taken him to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, which forced the relocation  of more than one million people in China, to Canadian mines where tailings, or residue, run through lakes in Ontario, and, most recently, to the dryland agricultural fields of Monegro, Spain.

“These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence,” Burtynsky says in his Web site’s statement. “Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet set us into an uneasy contradiction.”

View a slide show of changing landscapes around the world.

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