I remember being amazed looking at a book of photographs from Shackleton's voyages to Antarctica in the early decades of the 20th century -- it felt like looking at pictures of the expeditions through the Northwest Passage, which were mostly before photography was invented at all. And then I found there are not only photographs, there are colour photographs. As I've talked about before, in a post on WWI colour photos, there is just something about colour photography that brings the scene so much closer.
These photographs are by Frank Hurley, an Australian photographer who went along with several expeditions to Antarctica (as well as photographing both world wars). In addition to being fascinating, they are exceptionally beautiful, created by a true master of the form.
The expedition is Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, during which the ship Endurance was trapped in pack ice and ultimately abandoned and crushed. Most of her crew, including Shackleton and Hurley, were ultimately rescued after a fair amount of hardship.
Photographer Frank Hurley himself under the bow of the Endurance. Source
The Endurance in mid-winter ice. Source
Dog teams scouting a way to land. Source
The bosun John Vincent repairing a net. Source
The icefield preventing the expedition from reaching land, with the Endurance. Source
The rigging of the Endurance coated with ice. Source
Ernest Shackleton himself watching a lead form. Source
A view of the Endurance. Source
The Endurance under full sail. Source
A view of the Endurance through ice and snow. Source