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Still Life: Inside the Antarctic Huts of Scott and Shackleton Hardcover – June 1, 2012
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Operation Deep Freeze III veteran
I hope to return there in the near future.
Ussher's expedition to photograph the three huts that stand in McMurdo Sound from the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration (1895-1917) was undoubtedly a noble effort. The huts, "the jewels in the crown of Antarctic heritage," despite the exemplary conservation efforts of the Antarctic Heritage Trust have suffered extensive decay, as Executive Director Nigel Watson ruefully notes in the Introduction. Given the isolation of the site, the rigors of the environment, and the constrictions necessitated by conservation operations, accommodating a visiting photographic team was a rare occurrence. Ussher's mission thus has an aura of capturing these historic images before the sites are too far gone.
The book has been produced with deep sincerity and dedication that shines through on every page, making it perhaps an essential tome for the shelves of Antarctic aficionados. The three sections cover the Discovery Hut, Shackleton's Hut at Cape Royds, and Scott's Hut at Cape Evans. The photography is accomplished and brilliant. The pictures--all in full color--are in sharp focus, perfectly lit, and solidly composed both indoors and outdoors.
Ussher admits in her Foreword that of the three, the Discovery Hut especially disconcerted her, describing it as "one of the most desolate places on earth." She admits she was tempted to create personalized photos "that reflected my uneasy relationship with these interiors." To her they spoke of the death and deprivation that surrounded these expeditions.Read more ›
'art' get in the way of readily conveying the substance.
For instance, was it really necessary to reverse print, i.e
white type on black pages. Arty yes, but at the expense
of good, clear legibility.
Great photography, given the basic paucity of subject matter,
especially in Scotts Hut. There is one glaring omission.
And that was the lack of contemporary photos of Scott and
Shackleton and members of their expeditions. These men are spoken of
on every page. Many of their personal effects are photographically
captured in situ, right where they were left, a hundred years ago.
It would be nice to see the faces of the men whose legacy
this book is.