Renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky donates archive to Ryerson

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TORONTO — Esteemed Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky is donating his archive to his Toronto alma mater, Ryerson University.

Burtynsky, who has won world renown for his depictions of humanity's  impacts on the natural landscape, has gifted 142 photographs from his early career to the Ryerson Image Centre.

It's the first instalment of Burtynsky's multi-year donation to Ryerson, where he began his career in the late 1970s when the school was known as the School of Image Arts of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.

The St. Catharines, Ont.-born photographer has gone on to see his works tour the globe, including his "Anthropocene" exhibition, which is part of a multi-disciplinary collaboration that produced a 2018 documentary of the same name.

A selection of the photographs featuring some of Burtynsky's early explorations of society's attempts to control nature are available on Ryerson Image Centre's website.

Burtynsky shot most of the images in Ontario and Western Canada between 1976 and 1989, and he plans to donate further selections from his storied career to Ryerson in the years to come.

"It was important to me that my life's work be housed in a Canadian institution," Burtynsky said in a statement Tuesday. "It felt like a fitting 'homecoming' to entrust these works to the same place where I first developed as a photographer."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press