Workspace of the Month: Inside Ed Burtynsky’s Studio
In our Workspace series, CB is featuring interesting, smart-designed and one-of-a-kind spaces across Canada. From innovative home offices to out-of-the-box co-working spaces to unconventional setups—like this beauty company run out of a rural farmhouse and this vintage-clothing studio—we are looking to showcase the most unique and beautiful spaces from all industries. This month we are profiling the studio of Canadian photographer Ed Burtynsky.
Ed Burtynsky has been documenting the effects of industrialization and climate change for more than four decades. The Toronto-based landscape photographer has travelled across the world, from India to Australia, capturing the impact humans—and machines—have on the planet.
He works out of a loft-style studio in a heritage building in downtown Toronto—a spot he’s had for about 20 years. Burtynsky first set-up his photo lab in the commercial building in mid ’80s, and took over more room as his career grew. (He still has his lab, which is down the hall from his studio.) The artist worked with designers Lynn Appleby and David Didur on the interior, creating a functional open space that allows him and his team—a handful of collaborators who share the space—to work on projects. Tables for laying out prints are in the centre of the room, and a large “working wall” allows the artist to hang photographs with magnets for inspection.
In Burtynsky’s personal office—a room that is separated by glass doors—a bookshelf lines the wall with thousands of photo books. The books are largely by visual artists, who like Burtynsky, document the state of our environment, and are catalogued like a library. “I’ve organized them so that they can be loaned out,” he says.
Burtynsky’s workspace is also where he spent most of the pandemic developing his latest exhibition, In the Wake of Progress. The multimedia, immersive exhibit features selected photographs and video from his 40-year career that capture the impact of things like deforestation, agriculture, mining and manufacturing. “I want the audience to walk away with a deeper appreciation for the consequences of individual human actions as well as our collective actions,” he says. The interactive exhibit is on view at the Canadian Opera Company Theatre from June 25 until July 17.
Here’s a look inside Burtynsky’s workspace.