Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Manufactured Landscapes

When going into class the other day, I was expecting to watch Planet Earth.  I was pretty excited, as I love those videos.  They showcase the most beautiful and wondrous places and creatures that our planet has to offer.  It was a big shock that we were watching something different – a movie called “Manufactured Landscapes.”  The movie is a documentary based on the work of Edward Burtynsky.  It is primarily a view of the exact opposite of Planet Earth – it is the parts of the earth that we have mostly destroyed by industrial buildings, mining, and trash dumps.  The film itself was a little boring but the subject matter is literally jaw-dropping.  It is hard to believe that such extremes exist on our planet, and that we are knowingly creating them.  It’s hard to wrap my brain around the images that are shown in the movie.  There was one point when I believe the film crew was at a mine and the employees told them that they weren’t allowed to film because it wasn’t pretty or something.  All I could think of was “well, duh!”  It wasn’t just a small mine – it was a huge expanse of smoky, smoggy land covered in piles of rocks and pieces of equipment.   It was terrifying.  There were so many places in the movie that I would probably be terrified to go.  And it’s even more shocking that I haven’t seen them before now.  I mean, I think everyone has seen images of garbage dumps and landfills, but nothing like the almost post-apocalyptic landscapes that exist.  I believe the film was made in China, the country that makes just about everything we use here in America.  I think the biggest message the film puts across is the need to conserve.  Conserving is important in everything.  It’s a crazy world when $300 ipods are “disposable” after two years when the new ones come out.  I think since we in America don’t see it, we don’t realize what a monster we are creating.  I think it even more shows the importance of what we are doing in our nature photography class.  It is important that we keep the land set aside to be permanently natural.  We can’t allow ourselves to destroy what beauty is left.

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