Tag Archives: black and white

Newly Restored Photos of Shackleton’s Fateful Antarctic Voyage Offer Unprecedented Details of Survival 

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This photo was taken when the crew felt they had a good chance of freeing the trapped Endurance from the sea ice of the Weddell Sea, so they put the sails up. As we know, this and other attempts failed, and realizing the ship wasn’t moving Hurley went onto the ice to take this photograph. New details of sea ice have been revealed. Photo by Frank Hurley 1914-1917. Single use permission from the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers.

In what may be one of history’s most famous successful failures, explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and 27 other men set out on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1914 to make what they hoped would be the first land crossing of Antarctica. The crew had hardly reached the continent when their ship was swallowed and crushed by ice. Freezing in unfathomably cold conditions, all 28 men survived for nearly 17 months in makeshift camps in a desperate trek back to civilization. Despite losing their ship, expedition photographer Frank Hurley was able to save his camera equipment, working in incredibly difficult conditions to document their plight. Nearly 100 years to the day of the ship sinking the Royal Geographic Society (RGS) has mounted the Enduring Eye: The Antarctic Legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley, an exhibition of newly digitized images that provide incredible detail to the day-to-day life of the group of adventurers and survivors.

After 80 years of storing the original glass plate and celluloid negatives, RGS along with the Institute of British Geographers (IBG) has digitized over 90 images for the public. Due to enlargement, the photos reveal detail that had not been previously seen, like in the image of six crewmen huddled around the fire below. Previously, only five men were visible in the image, but after digitization it is now possible to make out a sixth man through the thick smoke of the flame.

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Photo by Frank Hurley 1914-1917. Single use permission from the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers.

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Photo by Frank Hurley 1914-1917. Single use permission from the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers.

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Photo by Frank Hurley 1914-1917. Single use permission from the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers.

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Photo by Frank Hurley 1914-1917. Single use permission from the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers.

Even modern photography would have been difficult in the antarctic conditions, but for Hurley it was nearly impossible. Glass plates were extremely heavy and would force the boat to carry unnecessary weight. In Hurley’s book “Argonauts of the South” written after the journey, he explained that he often had to risk his life to protect the plates. In one story, a time came to choose between tossing the plates or surplus food overboard. Hurley dumped the food.

Complete darkness was also a difficulty during the trip. This forced Hurley to light his subjects with flares, juggling a red hot flame while he manipulated a heavy camera. The effect of the technique was nothing short of cinematic, the image below showcasing the ship Endurance like a brilliant specter just before its fateful sinking.

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Iconic shot of the Endurance lit by flares at night. Photo by Frank Hurley 1914-1917. Single use permission from the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers.

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Wearing full polar clothing and gathered under the bow of the ship, photographed and filmed by Frank Hurley, probably on 1 September 1915. Glass Plate Negative: 6¼” x 4¾” (16cm x 12cm). Single use permission from the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers.

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Ernest Shackleton at Ocean Camp. Glass Plate Negative, 8 ½” x 6 ¼” (21.5cm x 16cm). Photo by Frank Hurley. Single use permission from the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers.

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Photo by Frank Hurley 1914-1917. Single use permission from the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers.

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Photo by Frank Hurley 1915. Single use permission from the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers.

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Photo by Frank Hurley 1914-1917. Single use permission from the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers.

Each photograph of the expedition is both a testament to Shackleton’s ability to lead and will to survive, as well as to Hurley’s contribution to the canon of photography. To learn more about Shackleton’s fateful voyage check out the book Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. If you want to explore the newly digitized images in person, make sure to catch the Enduring Eye which runs through February 28, 2016 at the Royal Geographic Society in London. The exhibition will then have a voyage of its own and travel to the US, Canada, and Australia. (via Al Jazeera)

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Photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen Seamlessly Integrates His Body with the Natural World 

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Fosters Pond II, 1989. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

Finnish-American photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen has been capturing self-portraits of his nude body in natural surroundings for the better part of five decades. More than just existing in these scenic locations, Minkkinen fully merges his limbs and torso like a chameleon, blurring the lines between where the world ends and his body begins.

The methods used to create these bold and uninhibited shots pre-date the use of Photoshop by decades, instead relying on a simple 9-second shutter release that allows Minkkinen to quickly pose for each shot. He usually works completely alone, and won’t let anyone else look through his camera’s viewfinder, lest they instead be labeled ‘the photographer.’ What may appear as a simply composed photo with fortuitous timing, is often the result of Minkkinen taking dangerous risks as he submerges himself in strong currents, buries himself in ice, or balances precariously on the edge of a cliff. He shares from an article How to Work the Way I Work:

Many of my photographs are difficult to make. Some can even be dangerous. I do not want to have someone else coming in harm’s way taking the risks I need to take: to lean out off a cliff or stay underwater for the sake of my picture. We control how much pain we can tolerate; such information is unknowable by anyone else. Some of my pictures might look simple, but in reality they can test the limits of what a human body is capable of or willing to risk. Thus I title them self-portraits, so the viewer knows who is in the picture and who took it.

At the age of 70, Minkkinen was just awarded the 2015 Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and is currently finishing work on his 8th book. The photographer opens his first-ever solo show in Chicago tomorrow evening at Catherine Edelman Gallery titled 7 8 9 0 1, featuring a range of both old and new portraits. You can see more from the exhibition here.

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Hands and Feet, White Sands, NM, 2000. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Väisälänsaari, Finland, 1998. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Oulujärvi Afternoon, Paltaniemi, Finland, 2009. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Mouth of the River, Fosters Pond, 2014. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Asikkala, Finland, 1992. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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10.10.10, Fosters Pond, 2010. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Fosters Pond, 2000. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Le Bouquet d’Arbres, Malmö, Sweden, 2007. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Beach Pond, Connecticut, 1974. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Dually Sinister and Playful Solarplate Etchings by Jaco Putker 

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When flipping through these prints by Netherlands-based printmaker Jaco Putker it’s difficult to pintpoint the exact emotion one should feel, but generally, if it’s somewhere between amused and terrified, that’s just what the artist intends. Putker combines both digital preparation with traditional photopolymer (solar plate) etching to create collages that can be both highly ridiculous and downright frightening. He refers to the artworks as “illustrations to fables which don’t exist, but hopefully take shape in the beholders’ minds.”

Putker has exhibited in countries across Europe, Canada, and the United States, and currently has work at the Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial. You can explore a trove of his prints on his website and many of his originals are avaiable online through Saatchi Art. (via The Jealous Curator)

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New Black and White Surrealist Self-Portraits by Noell Oszvald 

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Visual artist Noell Osvald (previously) creates startlingly bold works through simple gestures all performed in black and white. The self-portraits rarely show the 25-year-old artist’s face, instead expressing emotion through the way she tilts her head or slightly crooks her neck. Emphasizing line, her works incorporate a strict horizon or eliminate it altogether, segmenting the image from left to right. In one particularly powerful image the back of her head faces the camera and her hair is completely down. Her hair is gently separated over her shoulders and her part continues upward from the nape of her neck and meets with the corner of the wall above. She stands directly in the center of this division, making it seem as if her environment is splitting her in two.

The self-taught artist’s works are mostly composites that only allude to being photographs. She explains that she does not pre-visualize any of her works, all are completely spontaneous. “I find post-processing the most enjoyable part of creating,” she told Lines magazine. “I build my pictures up from several different ones, much like a jigsaw puzzle.”

You can see more images by Osvald on her Flickr and Instagram.

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Meet a Completely Colorblind Man Who Uses Special Tech to ‘Hear’ Colors 

Produced as a part of The Connected Series, Hearing Colors, is a short film that explores the life of Neil Harbisson, a man who was born with achromatopsia that leaves 1 in 30,000 completely colorblind. Through an antenna-like object implanted into the back of his head, Harbisson is able to gain a comprehension of the colors around him by hearing distinct sounds.

Harbisson completely embraces the unusual technology and openly refers to himself as a cyborg. “I don’t feel that I am using technology. I don’t feel that I am wearing technology. I feel that I am technology,” Harbisson explains. “I feel no difference between the software and my brain.”

The five minute film, shot in black and white, gives the audience a sense of Harbisson’s artificially created one, letting us peer into how he sees humans, cities, and everyday life.

Hearing Colors was created by filmmaker Greg Brunkalla. You can see more of his films on his Vimeo page here. (via Swissmiss)

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Artist Jane Long Digitally Manipulates Black and White WWI-Era Photos Into Colorful Works of Fantasy 

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All images provided by Jane Long Photography

Australian artist Jane Long transforms cracked and faded black and white photographs into colorful works of fantasy, giving the subjects a new, and entirely surreal context. The images she uses for her series, Dancing with Costica, were captured over a half century ago by Costică Acsinte a Romanian war photographer who documented WWI.

The glass-plate photographs by Costica capture the straight faces and intense eyes of the subjects taken long before smiling was common in images. “I wanted to change the context of the images,” says Long. “Photographic practices at the time meant people rarely smiled in photos but that doesn’t mean they didn’t laugh and love. I wanted to introduce that to the images.”

By altering the images Long imagines the subjects as characters, letting the audience decide whether they are bad or good. These colorful transformations have been a source of controversy as some viewers have felt it improper to alter images of those she doesn’t know. In response to these accusations the artist stands by her work and explains, “I wanted people to see these figures as real people, more than just an old photograph. Adding colour completely changes our perception of images.”

Long’s series Dancing with Costica will be exhibited from August 22nd to September 20th as part of the Ballarat International Photo Biennale. You can see more work by Long on her Facebook page here. (via My Modern Met)

Neptune's Bride

Innocence

Underneath

Tall Poppies

Sweetheart

Burn it Down

A Fond Farewell

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