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Anthropocene

Anthropocene

A controversial idea currently under vigorous and passionate international debate that would recognize the "human signature" on the planet.

Anthropocene is the latest book by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nick de Pencier to chronicle the massive and irreversible impact of humans on the Earth — on a geological scale.

In photographs that are both stunning and disconcerting, Burtynsky, Baichwal, and de Pencier document species extinction (the burning of elephant tusks to disrupt the illegal trade of ivory), technofossils (swathes of discarded plastic forming geological layers), and terraforming (mines and industrial agriculture).

The book also features a range of essays by artists, curators, and scientists, some part of an international group of scientists who have proposed that the Earth is now entering a new era of geological time where human activity is the driving force behind environmental and geological change — i.e. the Anthropocene. Thus the book brings contemporary art into conversation with environmental science and anthropology on a topic that urgently affects all of us.

Anthropocene will be published to coincide with a major international exhibition opening simultaneously in September 2018 at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada and the release of a film on the same topic by Baichwal and de Pencier. The exhibition will travel to Fondazione MAST in Bologna in the spring of 2019.


Edward Burtynsky is known as one of Canada's most respected photographers. His remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of over sixty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, the Tate Modern in London, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California.

"Documenting the effect of industrialization on the environment, Burtynsky provokes his viewers to contemplate the world he shoots. At first one is dazzled by the color and apparent fluidity in the landscapes that he captures, but on deeper examination one begins to realize that these are quarry mines, oil refining factories, and recycling centers." — Sheila Devaney

240 pages
Pub date: September 25, 2018