Lesson 2

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    Many old masters are to get the blame for my love for photography. As a teenager, I adored the work of Ansel Adams, the depth, tone range and sharpness of his landscapes inspired me to learn more about photography. Dorothea Lange has inspired me to capture the untold stories in faces of ordinary people. Henri Cartier-Bresson has made me regret the time I live in, as if I have missed the golden age of photography… But, here I would like to talk about Frank Hurley and about passion I share with him for photography. Hurley was born in 1885 in Australia and became interested in photography in his early age. He funded his hobby with a postcard business until at age of 25 he saw a chance to link photography with adventure: Australian explorer Douglas Mawson was planning an expedition to Antarctica. This was the golden era of Arctic Exploration and Hurley asked for the job of expedition photographer. Few years later he was offered a position on ship called Endurance, expedition under the leadership of Shekelton, heading once again to Antarctica. Little did he know about the 22 month hardships ahead of him. Long story short, the ship got caught in pack ice where the grew had to stay over polar winter. In early spring as the ice started moving, ship got crushed and sank. The whole grew started a long journey over the sea ice to reach Elephant Island – possibly the most God forsaken place on Earth for the storms that continuously batter over it. Likelyhood of survival was close to zero but over the odds all men survived. This survival story is of course is amazing and many books have been written about Endurance Expedition, so… back to photography. When faced with extreme hardship, this is when you see the core of a person, what they are truly made of, their passions and strenghts… One reason we know about the Endurance story today is Frank Hurley and his passion for photography. During a long arctic winter when the future didn’t seem so solid, he continued documenting the expedition and when the ship sank, he jumped into ice soup to rescue the negatives. As the crew made his way over the ice fields, he still found a moment to capture history, when many of us would have simply thought about our own survival. So, here is what I have learned from him – passion for photography, that make you endure the hardships and give deeper meaning to the hobby. He went to Antarctica to capture a story and from all his hart, against all odds he came back with it. His pictures have documented what most of us could not imagine even if we heard the story from the horses mouth. Through his photography the story lives and inspires many. If photography was just a job for him… it is unlikely we would have the wonderful photographs to tell the tale.

    Frank Hurley has inspired me to travel to places that were out of my comfort zone, where i simply felt sick all the time and couldn’t really think about anything other but ‘what the heck am i doing here???’. Photos taken back from these places are the ones closest to my heart, the ones that have a meaning for me. As if hardship is something that gives photography the right depth… I have learned from him to tell stories with my photos, true is that I still have a lot to learn. So, for the sake of following my passion that I share with Hurley, I keep finding myself on roads less travelled, places that not many would willingly go. After all, if it was that simple, everybody would be doing it…

    I have selected one picture from F Hurley that is telling the story itself… the situation he is in and what it takes to take a photo like this. It must be some serious frost out there… but will you look at this picture! The story of Antarctic Exploration captured in one image…

    To answer the second question of this assignment – what kind of photography of his has inspired me. Well, I like all kind of photography that comes with a story. So, lets say documentary… His photo journal is full of inspiring stories and tales, be it the hardship in people faces or in a sinking ship

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Hey Katie!!!

    Wow this is one the best lesson 2 assignments I have received to date. You have done exceedingly well.

    In fact you could have probably skipped this assignment since you already knew that Frank Hurley was an inspiration to you and your photography!

    It was a pleasure to read this.

    The idea for this assignment is to make people clear about what inspires them.

    More importantly the idea is for you to keep that inspiration in your pocket when you’re out shooting. In your case you could ask yourself the question what would Frank Hurley do when you’re shooting.

    Thanks for this. It’s nice to have you as a part of the student community!

    I hope you’re enjoying the course so fat.

    I look forward to seeing your next assignment.

    Here is one more lovely image from Frank Hurley:



    thank you for your kind words 🙂
    So far, so good. I have enjoyed the first two lessons and look forward to what is there to come.

    Duncan Rawlinson


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