Talk: “Photography and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration”

Venue: The McKenzie Lounge, Scottish Hall, Oamaru
Date: Thursday February 7th 2013 at 6.30pm

I’m giving this talk as part of the Oamaru Scott 100 and you are cordially invited.
The beginning of the twentieth century was quite similar to our own time in that new wave of photographic technology had swept the world. Anyone could and did photograph.
However there were important differences.

By 1900 the almost weekly occurrence of a photographer being poisoned or blown up by their own equipment was less common, and the loathing of the general public for “camera fiends” had diminished to the point where photographers with point and shoot cameras no longer felt the need to arm themselves for protection before going out.

The camera, along with the bicycle had contributed towards women’s emancipation. And the development of movie pictures and colour processes meant a photographer could exploit in new ways the intense interest in last great journey of discovery on this planet.

Particularly in the work of Herbert Ponting and Frank Hurley we have the example of how to beautifully document an expedition in a way that has formed the model for Antarctic photography. Their work didn’t appear out of a vacuum, and so I will also look at how the technology of the time and its history shaped their vision and shaped how they worked.

Seating may be limited so please arrive a little early.