Australia 1885 – 1962
Out in the blizzard at Cape Denison adjacent to winter quarters 1912 Materials & Technique: photographs, carbon photograph
Every foot had to be won against a relentless and cruel wind with bowed backs and strained muscles. Frank Hurley
Despite containing more than ninety percent of the world’s ice and snow, Antarctica is the driest, windiest and coldest continent on earth. On top of that, Adelie Land is the windiest coastal place on earth, though that was not known when the base at Cape Denison was set up after arrival in January 1912. Atrocious gales blew with increasing ferocity as the summer waned. As Hurley noted, ‘no conditions could have been more unsuited to photography’ and he described being bodily picked up with his camera and flung about by the terrible winds. Hurley considered this print to be one of his most successful and he took care with in the darkroom, enhancing the atmospheric effects. The image shows two members of the team, assistant medical officer, Leslie A. Whetter and John H. Close, Assistant Collector, involved in a routine daily chore: cutting ice from the glacier adjacent to the hut for domestic use.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra