Xiaolangdi Dam #2, 2011

This image of a dam in China is part of Edward Burtynsky’s 'Water' series, a five-year project documenting the way humans have used – and abused – the liquid on which life depends. The series is part of an ongoing examination of the impact of human activity on the environment. Many of the images focus not on water itself, but on the systems that humans have put in place in order to harness, shape and commodify it. Both beautiful and haunting, Burtynsky's 'Water' series creates a compelling portrait that illustrates humanity's past, present and future relationship with the natural world and its most vital and rapidly depleting resource.