Breathtaking Aerial Photos of Water — and Its Absence

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We interact with water constantly — and in so many different ways — that its ubiquity makes it seem both inevitable and invisible. We drink it, bathe in it, play in it, and are mostly made of it (a fact that I can never recall without also thinking about The Secret World of Alex Mack). But do we ever really stop and consider the ways it impacts us — and in turn, how we impact it? Photographer Edward Burtynsky and award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal took these questions as a creative and human challenge as they traveled the world making their documentary, Watermark.

Watermark “brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it, and the consequences of that use.” The film is the third part of Burtynsky’s Water project, which also includes a book (Burtynsky: Water) and a photo exhibition.

From flaming oil spills to colorful public beaches, the photos in this collection encourage us to consider our relationship with the water on our planet in new ways. And once you’ve been fully awestruck by the photos, catch Watermark at one of these screenings near you.

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Owens Lake #1, California, USA, 2009

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Marine Aquaculture #1, Luoyuan Bay, Fujian Province, China, 2012

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Xiaolangdi Dam #1 Yellow River, Henan Province, China, 2011

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Rice Terraces #2 Western Yunnan Province, China, 2012

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

VeronaWalk Naples, Florida, USA, 2012

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Georgian Bay #2 Eastern Shore, Ontario, Canada, 2009

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Cerro Prieto Geothermal Power Station Baja, Mexico, 2012

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Oil Spill #5 Q4000 Drilling Platform, Gulf of Mexico, June 24, 2010

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Dyralaekir River on Myrdalssandur Iceland, 2012

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Ölfusá River #1 Iceland, 2012

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Kumbh Mela #1 Haridwar, India, 2010

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Flood Control Levee MAASVLAKTE, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2011

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Polders, Grootschermer The Netherlands, 2011

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Pivot Irrigation #1 High Plains, Texas Panhandle, USA, 2011

Image Credit: Edward Burtynsky

Benidorm #1 Spain, 2010