Robert Burley ignites the discourse surrounding photography and the demise of the photochemical process; the notion that the death of photography, as we have known it, is imminent. Burley’s ongoing project, Disappearance of Darkness (2005 – present), records a major shift in the history of representation that includes the downsizing, closing and demolition of factories that manufacture traditional photography products around the world.
Somewhat ironically, Burley uses a large format view camera, much like the original 19th century device, to deftly capture the architectural complexity of the site. He documents employees as they witness the downfall of their former workplace and record its implosion with their digital cameras. As a culture that voraciously consumes digital capture devices, whether cameras, cell phones, or PDA’s, the impending end of the photochemical era appears unstoppable and irreversible. Burley’s massive photographic image, installed on a building façade with this parking lot context, metaphorically and literally captures the explosiveness of the current situation.
For over 20 years, Burley’s photographs have focused on the relationship between nature and cities, architecture and the urban landscape. His work has been extensively published, exhibited and collected on an international level. Burley lives in Toronto and teaches at Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts.
Robert Burley’s photographs are included in the CONTACT exhibition at MOCCA, Between Memory & History: From the Epic to the Everyday. Join him there for a lively discussion centered on the notion that photography, as we have known it, is passing into history – May 25th, 2pm.