eighteen

Behind today’s advent calendar door is Ernest Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, photographed in 1915 by Frank Hurley. This startling image — which suggests the engulfing beauty of the Antarctic landscape, as well as the vulnerability of the ship (and all things human) within it, features in an exhibition I saw recently at Holyrood. Hurley was a superlative photographer of texture, and his images of the breaking up of the Endurance after it became trapped in the ice are particularly startling and powerful. I was even more drawn, though, to the terrifying quietness of Herbert Ponting’s images of Scott’s Terra Nova expedition. The brutal materiality of some of these photographs was quite gripping, and tremendously moving. It will be no surprise to you that I spent a lot of time focusing on what Scott’s party were wearing: their socks, their sweaters, their balaclavas, their skins and fur. I am reading lots about the history of outdoor wear at the moment, as well as being in the process of making some for myself, and I will say more about this another time. Anyway, if you are in or near Edinburgh, I heartily recommend you go and see this super exhibition. If not, you can enjoy it in a virtual sort of way through its excellent website (and accompanying audio commentary / podcast). Meanwhile, we are off to our own landscape of ice and snow today to celebrate Tom’s birthday in true Highland style. Hope you have a lovely weekend!