The Easel

27th February 2024

Edward Burtynsky on climate, abstraction, and hanging photos like paintings

Burtynsky wants his landscape photographs to have some of the qualities of abstract painting. He wants an “all-overness” of the image and the whole image surface to be “active” – just like a Jackson Pollock. This, he hopes, will disorient the viewer and prompt the question ‘what am I looking at’? Those aesthetic effects notwithstanding, everyone knows the subject matter is despoilation. As one critic observes about Burtynsky’s current show, “It’s room after room of bludgeoning you with evil gorgeousness.”

20th February 2024

He toiled in obscurity – but now Saul Leiter is recognised as a true photography pioneer

Leiter was exploring colour photography decades before William Eggleston came along. Alongside the occasional fashion assignment, the unambitious Leiter devoted decades to taking images of his New York neighbourhood, They reveal a slightly abstract and oddly tranquil view of its streets, says one writer, “less social commentary and more about the beauty of urban life”. Leiter admitted that he “aspired to be unimportant”. Says this writer “poignantly beautiful work …a great photographer”. Images are here.