The Returning Sun, 1914-1917
Paper size: 16 x 20 inches
Numbered on recto, blind stamped and credited by Atlas Limited Editions
Edition of 400
Australian photographer Frank Hurley (1885-1962), accompanied Ernest Shackleton on his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Endurance expedition. Setting sail in 1914, the Endurance became trapped in pack ice in the Weddell Sea and the men never landed on the Antarctic mainland. Instead, months later, they were forced to abandon ship but, before it sank, Hurley and Shackleton saved some 200 glass negatives, all the weight they could afford. After months on the drifting ice, the men managed to land on Elephant Island. There, most waited while Shackleton and five crew sailed to South Georgia for help in a small open boat. The expedition and its rescue is one of the greatest stories of survival, gripping the public imagination for generations.
Hurley, who was both photographer and protagonist, offers an astounding record of that voyage and escape. One crew member wrote that he was “a warrior with his camera and would go anywhere or do anything to get a picture”. Always willing to improvise in search of a new angle, Hurley climbed high into the rigging with heavy camera, tripod and boxes of glass plates, and lugged them over dangerous expanses of ice to capture precisely his desired composition. Hurley’s photographic skill is evident in his handling of both the monumental icy landscape and his images of life below deck in the Antarctic winter months. His photographs document the crew at work with a microscope and charts, at rest, reading, playing dominoes in the before the final demise of Endurance and the beginning of their long journey to safety.
This print is from The Hurley Collection; a series of gelatin silver prints produced by Atlas Limited Editions in collaboration with the Royal Geographical Society. This print is book mounted and sits in a beautiful black-stained Ash frame. Total framed dimensions are 58 x 67 x 3.4 cm. Please allow 3-6 weeks for framing and shipping. Other works are available by Frank Hurley, to see a wider selection please contact us.