Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) had travelled with Captain Scott on an earlier voyage to Antarctica, before leading his own unsuccessful attempt to reach the South Pole in 1907-9. In 1914, galvanised by the achievement of the Pole and Scott’s death, he made a bid to cross the southern continent on foot. Among his team was the Australian photographer Frank Hurley (1885-1962), who joined Shackleton’s ship Endurance in Buenos Aires.
Hurley immediately began photographing activity on board, even climbing the rigging to obtain the best viewpoints. In January 1915 Endurance became trapped in the ice. When the ship, crushed between ice floes, began to disintegrate in October 1915, the photographer spent almost three days on the ice, determined not to miss the final moments of the vessel. His images of Endurance listing into the frozen depths are included in the exhibition, along with atmospheric photographs of the ship at night and of the effects of the weather and seasons on the ice.