1915: Colour photographs of Shackleton’s Antarctica

The 'Endurance' frozen in 76-35 South, 1915

The rigging of the 'Endurance' encrusted with RIME crystals, 1915

Dog teams scouting a way to the land, 1915

Sir Ernest Shackleton watching a lead forming, 1915

The pink glow of the rising sun shining on a pressure ridge, 1915

The 'Endurance' under full sail, held up in the Weddell Sea, 1915

The Deck of the 'Endurance', 1915

A mid-winter glow, Weddell Sea (showing The 'Endurance'), 1915

Glimpse of the Ship ['Endurance'] through Hummocks, 1915

35 South, 1915

New Fortuna Glacier, 1915

Glacier, New Fortuna Bay, 1915

Face of the Neumeyer Glacier, 1915

Alfred Cheetam signalling the Shackleton expedition, 1915

The Bosun [John Vincent] of the 'Endurance' mending a net, 1915

Frank Hurley with Cinematograph, 1915

Frank Hurley photographing under the bows of the 'Endurance', 191

The impenetrable icefield which prevented us from reaching the land (showing part of the 'Endurance'), 1915

A Sub-Antarctic sunrise. South Georgia, 1915

A mid-summer sunset with the 'Endurance' frozen in, 1915

The chick of the Wanderer Albatross, 1915

“These are Frank Hurley’s famous early colour photographs of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated ‘Endurance’ voyage, as part of the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917. Hurley was the official photographer on the expedition.

“Early in 1915, their ship ‘Endurance’ became inexorably trapped in the Antarctic ice. Hurley managed to salvage the photographic plates by diving into mushy ice-water inside the sinking ship in October 1915.”

- State Library of New South Wales

10 Responses

  1. Taylor

    Cool! i remember when i was in seventh grade, i did a report on Shackleton

  2. Fred Facker

    There’s a documentary film called The Endurance that tells the story of this voyage and showcases many of the films and stills. The most amazing part is that despite being stranded, not a man was lost on the voyage. Of course, the sad follow-up is that many of them immediately died in WWI upon their return.

  3. Scott

    But the amazing part of the story is that they all survived the ordeal. Shackleton brought them all back ALIVE.

  4. Luke Harby

    Are these actually colour film plates? I’ve only seen shots from the expedition in black and white, these look hand tinted to me.

  5. Tom

    Hurley’s photographs of WW1 battlefields are also well worth a look, especially for Retronauts. Hurley was a pioneer of “composite imaging” – what we would probably call “photoshopping” – and it landed him in a fair bit of hot water. He felt he was unable to fully capture the horror of the trenches with ordinary images and the only way to do so was to manipulate the images to fully demonstrate the chaos and confusion. I seem to remember that some of his Antarctic shots were also manipulated in this way.

    A nice article here:


  6. Howard

    It must have drove early photographers nuts to not really be able to capture the depth and many different shades of color in monumental pictures like these. But wow some amazeing shots!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.