One of the greatest ever photographic records of human survival is now on display at the Society. Honouring the achievements of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the men of the Endurance Expedition of 1914-1917, newly digitised images reveal previously unseen details of the crew’s struggle for survival both before and after their ship was destroyed.
The Enduring Eye exhibition opened to the public on Saturday 21 November (following a preview for Fellows and members on 20 November), exactly 100 years to the day that the crushed Endurance sank beneath the sea ice of the Weddell Sea, and will run at the Society until 28 February 2016. It will then go on to tour UK and international venues.
At the heart of the exhibition are more than ninety high resolutionimages, taken by Shackleton’s official expedition photographer Frank Hurley, and saved by him under the most extreme circumstances to provide a lasting record of the men of the Endurance and their story.
For the first time, the fragile glass plate and celluloid negatives stored securely at the Society have been digitised directly from the originals. Now viewed at full definition, the images unlock the remarkable detail captured originally by Hurley in his photographic processing, including interior images of the Endurance and high resolution information of life on the pack ice of the Weddell Sea.
As one of the first truly modern documentary photographers and film-makers, Australian born Hurley hoped to have his images seen at as large scale size as possible. 100 years later, this intention is honoured with giant dimension prints, some over 2 metres in width and height, at the heart of the exhibition.
The exhibition, which has been researched, written and curated by Meredith Hooper, the Antarctic historian, writer and broadcaster, also includes a number of ‘precious survivors’ – personal artefacts that were carried through every stage of the successive journeys for survival from the Weddell Sea to Elephant Island and onto South Georgia.
Enduring Eye is kindly supported by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT), with the Governments of the British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.
Enduring Eye: The Antarctic Legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley: Saturday 21 November 2015 – Sunday 28 February 2016
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Information kindly supplied by a visitor to the Enduring Eye Exhibition, Edinburgh.
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Chris Speight is a Principal Environmental Consultant at OHES and is based in Leeds, UK.
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