Frank Hurley: A Photographer from the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration


The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration underwent during the twilight of the 19th century when the Antarctic continent became a focus of international efforts of scientific and geographic exploration. One of the pioneers was Ernest Shackleton, and his photographer was Frank Hurley.

At the age of 25 in 1908, Hurley was recommended for the position to be the official photographer of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson, and thus was the beginning of his expedition from 1911, then returning to Australia in 1914 to release the documentary "Home of the Blizzard".

But it does not stop there. He was also appointed as the official photographer of Ernest Shackleton, the man whom history considers as the pivotal head of the Heroic Age. And by the same year of Hurley's return, they marooned back to Antarctica, producing pioneering color images of the expedition while using he then-popular Paget process.

The photographs that were taken in Shackleton's Endurance expedition were iconic documents that support one of the most remarkable survival stories of all time. No life was lost in the journey, but that didn't mean the adventure was without danger. One of the most known parts as an open-boat journey over 800 miles of mountainous seas by Shackleton and the crew so they could get some help. The great thing about it is, Hurley also captured that both in photographs and motion picture.

It is said that Hurley took him over 600 glass plates with some 120 film fo a compact camera. There were also large plate cameras. Shackleton and Hurley kept about 120 and smashed some 400. The remainder of the journey was captured with a handheld Vest Pocket Kodak camera and three rolls of film.

Images are from Graphicine.

2017-09-19 #culture #antarctica #frank-hurley #vintage-photography


  1. montagu
    montagu ·

    stunning. talented photographer

  2. sandersoftheriver
    sandersoftheriver ·

    I saw the Ponting & Hurley exhibition, 'The Heart of the Great Alone', at The Queen's Gallery in London a few years ago. It was both breathtaking and heartbreaking. My partner burst into tears as we left - after the suffering and deaths on Scott's expedition and the jaw-dropping hardship of Shackleton's crew on Endurance, I think Shackleton's own death was the final straw for her.

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