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The Daring & Dangerous Polar Explorations of Ernest Shackleton Captured in Photographs

The Rescue

Shackleton sought help by sailing in a smaller vessel that was carried aboard Endurance, the James Caird. He took with him 5 men, leaving behind 22 others who had to make due on the ice until he returned. Shackelton sailed to the South Georgia Islands to get help at a whaling station that they had stopped at on the way to Antarctica.

When Shackelton finally returned more than 3 months later in August of 1916, the crew learned that this was the actually the fourth attempt at rescuing the men living ashore. Each of the previous rescue attempts were disbanded due to extreme weather. Despite the rough circumstances, incredibly not a single member of the expedition died.

The Photographer

Hurley was one of those left behind from the rescue mission and the photographs he took during this time remain some of the most incredible of the 20th century. The looming ice formations and the men making due in frigid wind-blown Antarctica so clearly represent an era when explorers were big news and risked their lives to discover far off places.

State Library of New South Wales

Bosun for Endurance repairing a net. Via/ State Library of New South Wales

Frank Hurley remains one of the most daring and prolific photographers of that time period, with his previous work on arctic expeditions and his subsequent work in World War I and beyond helping to secure his legacy.

State Library of New South Wales

Hurley in South Georgia. Via/ State Library of New South Wales

Wiki Commons

Self-portrait of Hurley shooting some film footage of the arctic expedition. Via/ Wiki Commons

In an era when cameras were still cumbersome, mysterious devices, the concept of location photography and photojournalism was not as prevalent as today. But, in Hurley the world had found a man willing to travel into danger with a crew of explorers in order to get some truly amazing shots.

If you enjoyed this then click the “Next Page” button for the tale of one explorer who never returned from his quest for gold!

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