ENDURING EYE: The Antarctic Legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley
One of the greatest ever photographic records of human survival is to be exhibited for free at the Library of Birmingham.
‘Enduring Eye’ is an incredible photographic record of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s exploration of the Antarctic, from 1914-17 - with newly digitised images revealing previously unseen details of the crew’s epic struggle for survival, before and after their ship, The Endurance, was destroyed.
The Endurance was completely trapped in ice in early 1915 and sank some ten months later – but all expedition members were successfully rescued, having survived on the floating ice and completed a hazardous lifeboat journey to remote and uninhabited Elephant Island.
Images taken by expedition photographer Frank Hurley were selected and saved from the sinking Endurance by Hurley and Shackleton – and the original, fragile glass plates negatives have been carefully preserved in the collections of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).
The images, digitised directly from the glass plate and celluloid negatives for the first time, vividly capture the spirit of endurance, trust, courage and judgement shared by Shackleton and his team. Their extraordinary 800-mile rescue-voyage in little more than a rowing boat, and the survival of the men and photographic plates, remains unsurpassed in Antarctic history.
Frank Hurley’s breath-taking images powerfully demonstrate how photography can truly bring history to life. With its own world-renowned photography collections, the Library of Birmingham is a particularly fitting venue for this captivating exhibition. Alongside one of the most dramatic survival stories of the 20th century, ‘Enduring Eye’ describes fascinating local connections to the West Midlands and brilliantly captures daily life aboard ship.
Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “It’s very exciting to be working with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) to bring this fantastic exhibition to Birmingham. The dedication and teamwork of Shackleton’s crew cannot fail to inspire admiration.
“Enduring Eye is the first of a series of exhibitions being held at the Library of Birmingham this year, each reflecting on the UK’s changing role in the world and particularly Birmingham’s position as an international city.”
Alasdair MacLeod, Head of Enterprise and Resources at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), said: "We’re delighted to be working with the Library of Birmingham as part of Enduring Eye’s UK tour and local links project.
“The Endurance expedition is not just an incredible story of human survival and leadership, it’s also a key part of the UK’s Antarctic history. We encourage everyone to visit the exhibition while it’s on free display at the Library of Birmingham to discover more about the expedition and its links with Birmingham.”
Enduring Eye: The Antarctic Legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley – The Gallery, Floor 3, Library of Birmingham, opens Friday 20 January and runs until 13th May 2017. The exhibition is free and suitable for the whole family.