Dozens of dramatic pictures capturing Sir Ernest Shackleton’s doomed Antarctic exhibition and his crew’s desperate battle for survival have gone on display in Edinburgh.
Nearly 100 newly-digitised images of the Endurance and the men who were forces to abandon the vessel after it was crushed by ice are being showcased by the National Library of Scotland.
Its new exhibition, Enduring Eye, recalls how the 28-strong crew were forced to camp on ice for months before escaped to a mountainous outpost 900 miles from safety befeore they were eventually rescued 497 days after setting sail from South Georgia.
The show, a collaboration between the National Library and the Royal Geographical Society, is being staged to just over a century after what was planned to be the first expedition to cross the Antarctic continent from coast to coast.
The collection of images was captured by Frank Hurley, who was documenting the trip for Shackleton. It is described as “one of the greatest ever photographic records of human survival.”
It has been compiled from the 150 plates that the Australian-born Hurley managed to salvage from the expedition.
The exhihibition’s curators have blown up some of his photographs to more than two metres wide to show the quality of his original work and reveal previously-unseen details, while the show also features some of the film footage he managed to capture.
Paula Williams, curator of maps, mountaineering and polar collections at the National Library, said: “Polar expeditions caught the public imagination 100 years ago and continue to fascinate to this day.
“The stunning photographs in this exhibition tell an amazing story of human daring and endurance in the most hostile of circumstances.”
Alasdair MacLeod, head of enterprise and resources at the Royal Geographical Society, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the National Library to share this extraordinary story with the widest audience possible.
“Through Frank Hurley’s incredible images and the local links to the expedition, we hope to inspire people to learn more about the world’s last great wilderness and the work of today’s scientists to further understanding of it.”
The Enduring Eye exhibition is at the National Library of Scotland until 12 November.