His education shaped the skills that he already possessed as an artist, and helped him develop the techniques of photography that have captivated thousands through his snapshots.
Burtynsky’s photography brings the discreet and hidden realities of human development to the public’s eye, and demands an appreciation and evaluation of man’s actions and their effects on nature (Burtynsky, 2009). He has a knack of capturing the most rudimentary and banal sites through his lens, and instilling art and finesse into those pictures (Burtynsky, 2009). His early work consists of the industrial landscape of General Motors plant in his city, which, according to him, evoked the passion for observing nature and capturing industrial development in his photos (Burtynsky, 2009). His exposure of the mining sites, recycling plants, industrial waste depots, and other such crass sites were hugely popular in Canada and elsewhere, so that very soon he became one of Canada’s most famous and respected photographers (Burtynsky, 2009). The highlight of his career and a major turning point was when he won the TED award in 2005 (TED, 2009). This led to the making of a documentary, called Manufactured Landscape, on the collection of his works of same title, and his life, in 2007 (TED, 2009). At the award ceremony, Burtynsky made three wishes related to the progress in his work, all of which, due to his immense influence and respect in the artworld, have been fulfilled (TED, 2009). He wished for a website to encourage children to think for their planet; the Meet The Greens website was developed (TED, 2009). He wished he would be able to film on Imax; that is currently in progress (TED, 2009).