Hurley on Ship's Rigging
DIMENSIONS: 19.5” X 27”
(49.5 CM X 68.6 CM)
PRICE: $19.95 US
PHOTOGRAPH BY: FRANK HURLEY
IMAGE SOURCE: SCOTT POLAR RESEARCH INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, UK
Expedition photographer Frank Hurley would go to almost any lengths to get the photograph he wanted. In this image he is seen high up on the rigging of the Endurance with his cinematograph, filming Shackleton as he examines the ice ahead of the ship.
Hurley's true value to the Endurance expedition, then and now, is greatly underrated. Without Hurley's visionary photography one of the greatest stories of human exploration may never have received its due. And without his inventiveness and skill as a metal worker (he made both the all important blubber stove and a critical bilge pump for the James Caird, all from parts of the crushed Endurance) they may not have survived at all.
Even though Shackleton commanded every man to bring only a few pounds of personal belongings, he allowed Hurley to bring over 120 prints and negatives and film footage in the treacherous open boat journey to Elephant Island. The lifeboats were overloaded and low in the water, at risk of capsizing in the stormy seas. Men alternately rowed and bailed for their lives. Some screamed at Hurley to throw the heavily packaged bundles of film overboard to better their chances of survival. Hurley balked, insisting they would have to throw him overboard first.
From Frank Worsley's diary, "Hurley the irrepressible...is taking a colour photo of the ship and ice. He is a marvel-with cheerful Australian profanity he perambulates alone aloft and everywhere, in the most dangerous and slippery of places he can find, content and happy all the time but cursing so if he can get a good or novel picture."