Connect with us

Published

on

Photographer Edward Burtynsky says people should be “screaming 10 alarm fire right now,” due to the urgency of the climate crisis. Instead, he says “it still feels like we’re rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”.

The 69-year-old Canadian artist has re-invented landscape photography, spending the last 40 years documenting man’s dominance over the planet.

He explores human impact across the world – in all its beauty and bleakness.

But does he see any conflict in creating beautiful images documenting such devastating impact on the earth?

He tells Sky News: “My work is revelatory, not accusatory.

“Every living species takes something from nature to survive, and we as a top predator, take quite a bit from nature to survive.

“All these things I’m showing would be perfectly fine if there were one billion human beings on the planet. The fact that there’s eight billion makes it a problem. It’s just too much of a good thing.”

His large-scale panoramas both celebrate and question human ingenuity, challenging his audience to look beyond their backyard.

They also act as a critical reminder of what could be at stake without urgent changes to the way we use the planet’s resources.

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
Image:
Coast Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery

Born in Ukraine, Burtynsky’s parents moved to Canada after the Second World War. His father – who gave him his first camera as a child – died when he was just 15.

Precipices and helicopters

The necessity to earn enough money to allow him to study photography led him to find work in big industry, working in both the auto and mining industries as a young man.

“I moved far north and worked in big mines. And I got to see those worlds, first-hand. And I think it was that kind of opening my eyes to this other world that gave me the idea that most people haven’t really seen these worlds”.

Progressing from standing on the edges of perilous quarries and mines to get his shots (admitting, “my mother didn’t approve, it was sort of dangerous”), he now uses helicopters to get his aerial images.

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
Image:
Kooragang of Coal Terminal, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery


Over four decades, his photography has seen him travel to multiple countries across every continent (except for Antarctica), with his works included in the collections of more than 60 museums around the world.

Disappearing rivers of ice

His recent trip to photograph the Coast mountains of British Columbia, Canada, for his latest exhibition – New Works – was a stark reminder of a swiftly changing world.

From his bird’s eye view, he could see the glaciers – which date as far back as 150,000 years – had receded dramatically compared with 20 years ago because of warming as a result of human activity.

Not only a visible measure of man’s impact on the environment, the disappearing rivers of ice will go on to impact the ecosystems that rely on their meltwater.

Burtynsky’s new collection also explores soil erosion in Turkey, and the impact of coal mines in Australia.

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
Image:
Salt Lakes, North-East Tuz Lake, Turkey. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery


He admits it’s sometimes frustrating trying to relay the urgency of the climate emergency message.

‘Our legacy is troubled’

“We have this particular moment in time and things are evolving rapidly. I’m trying to invoke a sense of urgency out there… This is actually scientifically being charted and we’re pretty good at predicting what to expect.”

His environmental message – which is his life’s passion – is deeply held.

“I have two daughters and I want them to have a chance to have a family, too. So, if you know, the legacy that we’re leaving behind is troubled.

But his ecological vigour is also rooted within his personal knowledge of big industry. He says our use of the world’s most valuable resources is not something that can just stop, but instead needs careful planning, with alternative energy incentivisation, to help us transition to more sustainable methods.

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
Image:
Erosion Control, Yesilhisar, of Central Anatolia, Turkey. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery

So, what’s his view on the growing army of climate activists drawing attention to the cause by doing ever more extreme things to hit the headlines – particularly when that involves demonstrations in art galleries?

‘I understand the frustration’

“I understand why culture and the arts in particular can be a target, and somebody trying to bring attention through art celebrity. And that’s what’s happening, they’re taking a famous painting and throwing some paint on it… Or gluing themselves…

“I would think that demonstrating in front of the companies that are causing the problem might be a better place – to go direct to the source of the problem. But I understand the frustration.”

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
Image:
Erosion Nallıhan, Ankara Province, Turkey. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery

As for the renewed scrutiny on the source of funding for some of our big arts institutions, including galleries and museums accepting money from big oil companies, he says it’s a tricky path to navigate.

‘Be careful what you wish for’

“The line in a way is dangerous because you can all of a sudden find out that culture is no longer viable.

“I think as well, the oil companies have to transition, and they can do a lot to make a difference.

“We still need oil in the meantime until the transition occurs, [and we should] be careful what we wish for, because if all of a sudden the oil stopped tomorrow, I’d call that anarchy.

“We wouldn’t have food coming into the cities. We wouldn’t have transport working, everything would come to a screeching halt. So we are, unfortunately, still bound to that energy source for the foreseeable future.”

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
Image:
Ravensworth Coal Tailing, Ravensworth Mine, Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia,. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery


Part of that future, he believes, lies in the essential role that art can play in raising ecological awareness.

‘There’s still time’

“Artists have a role and creativity has a huge role in the future, because we have to reinvent our world. We have to find a world that isn’t built on this consumer culture saying the more stuff I own, the happier I am.

“I think everybody’s finding that that’s a bit of a shallow value system that may have been sold to us by some very influential advertising campaigns.”

So, should viewers of his work feel optimistic or pessimistic on leaving the gallery?

“I hope people can walk away saying there’s still time to do something.

“I think pessimism tends to lead to cynicism that nothing will work, so [people think] ‘Why should I bother? I’ll just carry on business as usual’. And I don’t think that’s the right attitude.”

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
Image:
Coast Mountains, Monarch of Ice Cap, British Columbia, Canada. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery

But alongside that optimism, Burtynsky’s clear-eyed on the challenges the world is facing.

Atmospheric rivers, water bombs and heat domes

“The storms are coming – we’re hearing all kinds of new terminology: ‘Atmospheric rivers’; ‘water bombs’ – these the massive amounts of water hitting a city all at once; ‘heat domes’. All of these new terms to try and describe what’s coming.

“The fire seasons have already started early, Texas is having one of its worst fire seasons ever, and it’s a month and a half, two months early.”

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
Image:
Coast Mountains, receding of glacier, British Columbia, Canada. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery

He concludes: “It’s a question of how quickly we’re able to cease and desist the worst activity that we’re doing, which I’d say right now is CO2 loading in the atmosphere and is our most immediate problem.

“We’ve got a lot of problems, and I think if people are going to act, they need to act. The time for words is way over.”

Edward Burtynsky New Works is showing at Flowers Gallery until 6 April.

A retrospective of his work, Extraction /Abstraction, is showing at the Saatchi Gallery until 6 May.

Click to subscribe to ClimateCast wherever you get your podcasts

Watch the full interview on The Climate Show with Tom Heap, Saturday and Sunday at 3.30 and 7.30pm on Sky News.

Continue Reading

Entertainment

‘This is the ride of our lives’: Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney celebrate Wrexham promotion

Published

on

By

'This is the ride of our lives': Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney celebrate Wrexham promotion

Ryan Reynolds said he cried “tears of joy” after Wrexham secured a second successive promotion, while Rob McElhenney said he has “no words”.

The Hollywood actors, who took over the Welsh football club in 2021, saw their team seal their place in League One next season with a thumping 6-0 win over Forest Green.

Fans poured onto the pitch to celebrate at the end of the game at the Racecourse Ground.

Wrexham were promoted to the Football League at the end of last season following a 15-year absence, with an open top bus parade which saw tens of thousands turn up to mark the achievement.

Deadpool star Reynolds, 47, wrote on X: “A few years ago, if you told me I would be crying tears of joy over a football match taking place in North Wales, you would be Rob McElhenney.

“Congrats to Wrexham and to my co-chairman in crime. Double up the town! This is the ride of our lives.”

McElhenney, 46, who co-created It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, said he was watching the game from Los Angeles and wrote on X: “No words.” He also posted a heart emoji.

More on Ryan Reynolds

Wrexham fans on the pitch celebrating promotion. Pic: PA
Image:
Fans poured onto the pitch to celebrate.

While watching the match he had praised striker Paul Mullin, 29, who struck twice in the first half to help Wrexham to a 4-0 half-time lead.

“This may be my favourite goal of his. Not a game winner or anything fancy. Just perseverance, hustle and grit,” he wrote.

“@PMullin7 knows the people in that stadium didn’t pay their hard-earned wage to watch guys give 95%. They deserve 100% and he gives it to them All. The. Time.”

McElhenney previously let Mullin recover at his home after he suffered an injury during a US friendly against Manchester United.

Read more from Sky News:
Sharon Osbourne hits back at Amanda Holden in row
Squatters take over Gordon Ramsey pub

Since taking over the club in February 2021, McElhenney and Reynolds, along with their popular Welcome To Wrexham docuseries, have propelled the club into the global spotlight.

In 2022, the pair were honoured by the Welsh Government, the Football Association of Wales and S4C for promoting the country and its language with the Dragon Award.

Reynolds had a meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, while the club has seen recent royal visits from the Prince of Wales and the King and Queen.

Continue Reading

Entertainment

‘It’s demeaning’: Sharon Osbourne hits back at Amanda Holden in row over Simon Cowell

Published

on

By

'It's demeaning': Sharon Osbourne hits back at Amanda Holden in row over Simon Cowell

Sharon Osbourne has hit out at Amanda Holden after the presenter appeared to call her “bitter and pathetic” over comments she made about Simon Cowell.

The 71-year-old music manager and wife of former Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne said Cowell “doesn’t know how to keep friends” in a conversation with their fellow former X Factor judge Louis Walsh when the pair appeared together on Celebrity Big Brother.

In an article in the Daily Mail, Holden, 53, who is on the judging panel of Britain’s Got Talent alongside Cowell, said: “I hated seeing certain people in a reality show dissing Simon – he’s the person who’s given them all the chances, given them a lot of money and a lifestyle they probably wouldn’t have had.

“It’s bitter and pathetic. It was like Cinderella with her two sisters in the background – just stabby, stabby, stabby.”

Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden. Pic: PA
Image:
Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden. Pic: PA

Osbourne, who has managed The Smashing Pumpkins and Motorhead, responded to the article in a lengthy post on X, writing Holden did not know her “history in the music industry, my achievements, the artists I have worked with, the shows that I’ve produced, and my global celebrity”.

She said whenever she had seen Holden on television she always thought she was “very beautiful and talented” but told her: “Never make comments about my lifestyle given to me by Simon Cowell.

“It’s demeaning to me and my husband and all the achievements I have made in my life as you’re making yourself look like an ill-informed sycophantic.”

Pic: Reuters
Image:
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. Pic: Reuters

Read more from Sky News:
How to earn thousands letting stars film in your house

London Marathon: Four mistakes to avoid as the big day looms

Osbourne, who starred alongside her family in the 2000s reality show The Osbournes and had her own talk show, said her brand is “known worldwide” and she has been “blessed with an amazing lifestyle throughout my entire life”, with a mansion in Beverley Hills and an English country estate.

“I never discuss money, lifestyle, or positions of power,” she said.

“I find it to be classless and crude.

“However, you’ve now forced my hand to divulge these things to you and I honestly don’t want to seem like I’m bragging, but the truth is my money and success were not due to doing a couple of Simon Cowell talent shows.

“Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed doing them at the time as they were great fun.

“Yes, Simon paid me very well. Probably more than what you’re receiving today, but all of that my darling went on a few handbags.”

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

But Holden appeared to stand by her comments following Osbourne’s criticism.

A spokesperson told the Mail: “Amanda is aware of Sharon’s incredible career but, just like her, Amanda will always defend those close to her.”

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Shakira announces Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran world tour during surprise Coachella appearance

Published

on

By

Shakira announces Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran world tour during surprise Coachella appearance

Shakira has announced an upcoming world tour during a surprise performance at Coachella 2024.

The Colombian singer shocked the crowd as she rose from a platform during the set of Argentinian DJ Bizarrap to perform their new track, La Fuerte.

During the performance, the extravagant backdrop on the Sahara stage switched to say “Shakira, Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran World Tour”.

The Hips Don’t Lie star said: “Finally, we are going on tour. Starting here, this November in this city, can’t wait. Couldn’t ask for more.”

Bizarrap, left, and Shakira perform during the the first weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Friday, April 12, 2024, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Image:
Shakira appeared during a set with Argentinian DJ Bizarrap. Pic: AP

Bizarrap, left, and Shakira perform during the the first weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Friday, April 12, 2024, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Image:
It’s her first tour since 2018. Pic: AP

Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran, released last month, is the 12th studio album from the singer and first in seven years.

It tracks the singer’s transition from heartbreak to resurgence, and was inspired in part by her break-up with former Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique.

The 47-year-old had teased the announcement in an Instagram post a day before her appearance. Translated from Spanish it said: “The wolf is coming.”

More on Coachella

In a later post, she confirmed the world tour and was “stoked” to be “celebrating with my wolfpack”.

Shakira’s last tour was in 2018 following the release of her album El Dorado.

Read more:
Shakira brands Barbie movie as ’emasculating’
Giant Shakira statue unveiled in star’s hometown

Coachella is taking place over two weekends from 12-14 April and 19-21 April and features headline performances from Lana Del Rey, Doja Cat, Tyler, the Creator and a No Doubt reunion with Gwen Stefani.

Festivalgoers are seen during the the first weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Friday, April 12, 2024, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Image:
The yearly festival takes place in the Colorado Desert. Pic: AP

Lil Uzi Vert performs during the the first weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Friday, April 12, 2024, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Image:
Lil Uzi Vert was also one of the acts. Pic: AP

The renowned annual festival is held in the Colorado Desert and will also see London rock band Blur and South Korean DJ and singer Peggy Gou take to its stages.

Continue Reading

Trending