Completing Shackleton’s Dream

Our new title The Crossing of Antarctica explores the epic expedition that fulfilled Shackleton’s dream. We complete our journey across this forbidding continent through the original photographs of the late George Lowe, the veteran mountaineer and film-maker. Here is a taster of shots from the making of the book, by award-winning historian and polar guide Dr Huw Lewis-Jones.

‘Antarctica: one of the coldest, windiest and most desolate locations on Earth, a desert of ice, much of it still unexplored. Yet Antarctica is also a land of beauty and unanticipated delight, and it continues to draw men and women to test themselves among its frozen wastes. One hundred years after Ernest Shackleton set out to make the first crossing of this great white continent, our volume celebrates those who succeeded where he failed. It was a journey long thought impossible. The Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1955-58, led by Vivian ‘Bunny’ Fuchs, was one of the 20th century’s triumphs of exploration – a powerful expression of technological daring as much as a testament of sheer, bloody-minded human willpower. As a key member of the expedition, New Zealander George Lowe was there to capture it all on film.

A haul of unpublished images and other rare materials from George’s archives are gathered together in this book for the first time, along with others from the Fuchs family collection. Awe-inspiring landscapes, candid portraits and action shots evoke the day-by-day moments as the expedition travelled across the ice on a variety of vehicles and dog sledges, facing extraordinary challenges and dangers.

This is a draft of Shackleton’s original plan from 1914 and Bunny Fuchs’ proposal from the early 1950s. From the Ross Sea side, two great travellers, Amundsen and Scott had reached the South Pole overland, and so Shackleton wanted to be the first to complete a full traverse. His ship Endurance was crushed and they did not even manage to make a landfall. Now Fuchs would pioneer the way from the opposite side, the Weddell Sea, the unknown shore, with over 2,000 miles to travel. On paper three summers and two winters on the southern continent might seem a long time to accomplish a overland journey lasting just three months, but the whole undertaking required huge logistics to make it feasible. Even now, such a journey is fraught with difficulty.

At home in Cornwall, book proofs and prints are spread out on the kitchen table. I also worked with my old friend, renowned polar photographer Martin Hartley, to create images of the remarkable original prints and special expedition equipment.

Inside George’s battered expedition case we find the Leica IIIf that he loaded with Kodachrome transparency film to create shots for his lectures. For the Leica the shutter was hardly ever varied from 1/100 s with an aperture of f/8. In temperatures below minus 20°F he wore three pairs of gloves – white silk, soft leather as worn by chauffeurs, and heavy working mitts slung from a neck harness. He could change film and alter lens settings easily in just silk and leather inners for a few minutes at a time, before thrusting cold hands back into the ungainly mitts.

George had to juggle many cameras all at once, shooting on 16mm ciné-film for general release in the cinemas, medium-format black and white for newspapers and 35mm colour transparencies for lectures and books. This is George’s Bell & Howell 70DL ciné camera. During the crossing it often froze, though after he’d warmed it over the primus stove it was ready for action once more.

Martin Hartley gets to grips with George Lowe’s Leica IIIf. We created new images of special objects – old maps, original glass slides, tattered flags and snow-goggles – all of which appear in The Crossing of Antarctica for the first time. George used this Leica right across Antarctica. He slung it round his neck on a short strap, to hang inside his outer waterproof clothing. He often slept with it to keep it from freezing, until he was able to rig up a hot-box connected to a Sno-Cat’s battery. During the journey he did not process roll film but stored it in large aluminium containers, developing it in batches at the South Pole, and Scott Base. The finished negatives were sealed in tins and flown to London at the end of the expedition.

Over the course of creating George’s Everest memoirs and gathering together materials from his rich lifetime of adventure, we came across a small bundle of letters at his house neatly tucked away at the bottom of an oak chest. With more research, yet more material came to light. In time other members of his family also shared their memories and gradually a rare collection of correspondence came together. To be able to work with his original journals and archive for the first time was a real honour for me.

This little New Zealand flag flew from George’s vehicle Wrack and Ruin. By the end of the journey it had turned almost white, bleached by the Antarctic sun. It took them ninety-nine days to complete the main haul across ice and snow, and some three years of effort, overwintering in small huts before setting out. Shackleton had called it ‘the last great polar journey’ and despite all the technological advances that had made their progress possible – Sno-Cat vehicles, radio, and aircraft support – it was still a formidable undertaking.

These prints show New Year’s Day on the polar plateau in 1958, five hundred miles from the South Pole. The wind has carved the ice into rutted fields of sastrugi, like the waves of a choppy sea suddenly frozen into immobility. At a time when man was looking to the dawn of travel into space, the crossing of Antarctica was one great journey of discovery not yet completed on his own planet.

Glass-mounted slides from this legendary expedition are gathered on my lightbox at home. After nearly five years of planning, and many gruelling months of effort, twelve men finally crossed – and learned a little more about – the last unknown continent on earth.

My daughter is always keen to join in. As the granddaughter of polar explorer Sir Wally Herbert, it’s all part of family life for little Nell. Soon we’re going on an adventure to the Arctic together, where her mum, author Kari Herbert, grew up. And, my next book for Thames & Hudson in fact will celebrate Wally’s great polar journey; the epic overland trek to the North Pole and the first crossing of the Arctic Ocean in 1969. Over 3,600 miles and 16 months across constantly moving ice floes. Now that was an epic expedition! Across the Arctic Ocean will be published in 2015.’

In this fantastic short video Huw chooses some of his favourite pages from
The Crossing of Antarctica. Watch it below or click here to view on Youtube –

Huw is also the author of The Conquest of Everest.

The_Crossing_of_AntarcticaThe Crossing of Antarctica is the remarkable visual and personal testimony of a polar expedition that rewrote the history books.
Available for £24.95 from the Thames & Hudson website.

 

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Q&A: Tristan Manco on Scale-Defying Art

The new book from Tristan Manco, Big Art/Small Art, showcases forty-five international artists who are pushing the boundaries of scale to create works of staggering skill and audacity; the results intrigue, surprise, immerse, disorientate and inspire. Read on to find out how Tristan approached this exciting subject.

The Silent Evolution, © Jason deCaires, Taylor 2010

The Silent Evolution, © Jason deCaires, Taylor 2010

Where did the idea for the book originate?

‘There seems to be a universal fascination for art that is created both on a grand and or a miniature scale, from architecture to jewelry, from vast edifices to intimately precious objects. Remnants of temples and coins of ancient civilizations point to this collective need to shape a society through artefacts both big and small – to make a lasting mark. As the English romantic poet Shelley’s poem reminds us, ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’

While I am in awe of what history has left behind – the exquisite grave goods left in Egyptian tombs or the Roman amphitheatres that still stand today – the idea behind this book is to explore how contemporary artists are using scale to make their equivalent mark today. I have been bowled over by the scale of artworks created in recent decades, from Jeff Koons’s Puppy at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to Richard Serra’s Corten steel sculptures in New York, not to mention the colossal structures and installations that regularly dominate Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. While it was not only their dimensions that made these works so exciting, the scale of the art was a memorable and important factor in the experience. This tendency towards large-scale work has grown exponentially in current times, influenced by a number of motives that are discussed in the book.’

Monte-meubles: L’ultime déménagement © Leandro Erlich 2012

Monte-meubles: L’ultime déménagement
© Leandro Erlich 2012

How did you research/categorise the artists? Was it always obvious which category they fell into?

‘The research for Big Art/Small Art came as a by-product and a natural progression from my previous book, Raw + Material = Art: Found, Scavenged and Upcycled, in which I wanted to explore the relationship and creative approaches different artists had to materials – in particular those using low-cost and low-tech media. While exploring this topic I began to think more about scale and so my study widened to consider artists working with interesting materials but also applying them to works of extreme scales.

Since artists often work at different scales I sometimes had to concentrate on one aspect of their work in order to categorise them appropriately for the book. In some cases the category was not clear, for example artist Luke Jerram, who in his Glass Microbiology series creates glass sculptures modeled on microscopic viruses, the sculptures can be held roughly in two hands, but it terms of scale they are vastly scaled up models of microbes. He features in our ‘small’ chapter but equally could have been in the ‘big’ one.’

E. coli  © Luke Jerram, 2010

E. coli
© Luke Jerram, 2010

Did you discover many new artists in the process of creating the book?

‘I certainly did discover many artists, some of them very well known either worldwide or in their own country, others I would describe as up-and-coming. I was keen to eschew artists that would already be familiar to many people such as Anish Kapoor, Ai Weiwei or Christo and Jeanne-Claude etc, not only to keep things current but also to give readers the chance to discover new artists. Some of the artists such as Fujiko Nakaya, a Japanese artist who creates art with fog, could hardly be described as new as she reaches her 81st birthday this year!’

(c) Joe Fig, Jackson Pollock, 2008

(c) Joe Fig, Jackson Pollock, 2008


Do you have any personal favourites from the book?

‘I’m not sure I’m allowed favourites as the overall curator but I am inspired by the work and ethos of Russian artist Nikolay Polissky. Made with found natural materials such as wood, straw and twigs, he has created some fantastic and monumental sculptures that can perhaps be described as utopian, integrating principles of land art and art for social regeneration. Since 2000, most of his works have been created within the village of Nikola-Lenivets, in the Kaluga region, a four-hour drive from Moscow, and in co-authorship with the local villagers. This semi-abandoned village has been rejuvenated through art, turning it into a cultural centre with its own annual festival of landscape architecture, ‘Archstoyanie’, which has attracted further visitors.’

Body OF Knowledge © Jaume Plensa 2010

Body OF Knowledge
© Jaume Plensa 2010


Why do you think it’s important to publish books like this?

‘As a writer my goal is always to inspire, and hopefully the outstanding material in Big Art / Small Art does just that. I’m fascinating by this subject since it’s both a fundamental element in art and also a unique way to uncover innovative artists from around the globe. A sense of scale is fundamental to the way we experience the world and an important consideration therefore in the work of artists.

From installations, environmental art, public art and art inspired by science there is an extraordinary wealth of ideas encapsulated in the book, which I hope will be a fantastic page-turner for readers. Whether you are a young artist keen to discover current movements or someone looking to the world of art for fresh approaches to architecture, design or experiential engagement, I would hope there is something there for everyone!’

Big Art / Small Art‘These artworks that play with perspective will bend your eyes and your mind’ – The Guardian.

Big Art / Small Art is available for £29.95 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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Victorian Inventions That Didn’t Change The World

In this short video filmed at The National Archives in London, Julie Halls, author of Inventions that Didn’t Change the World, shows us a selection of uniquely improbable designs registered in 19th Century Britain (none of which ever made it into production) and describes the social history behind each innovation.

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Who Were the Great Archaeologists?

In our latest post, Brian Fagan introduces some of the prominent figures
from the history of archaeology, as featured in his new book
The Great Archaeologists.

Portrait of Johann Joachim Winckelmann by Anton von Maron, 1768

‘Few scientific enterprises are more closely defined by those who have undertaken them than archaeology. Among the heroes: Babylonian monarchs, medieval antiquaries, and the wonderfully eccentric 17th-century British antiquarian William Stukeley, who dined atop a Stonehenge trilithon and remarked there was enough space to dance a minuet. The Great Archaeologists describes a constellation of now deceased archaeologists from all corners of the world, especially those from the great days of archaeological discovery—Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the founder of classical archaeology, Heinrich and Sophia Schliemann of Troy and Mycenae fame, Howard Carter, who discovered Tutankhamun, and Leonard Woolley of Ur.

TH  ARCHAELOGIST 227

We visit with John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood as they reveal the Maya city of Copán to an astonished world, traverse the ramparts of Maiden Castle in southern England with the flamboyant Sir Mortimer Wheeler, who also worked memorably on the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley. Louis and Mary Leakey transform our knowledge of early human evolution at Olduvai Gorge. Alfred Kidder establishes the chronology of the ancient pueblos of the American Southwest.

Michael Katzev and Richard Steffy determining the lines of the Kyrenia shipwreck, 1973

However, for me, it was some of the lesser-known archaeologists who made this book such fun to edit. Among them was the formidable Gertrude Caton Thompson, who excavated Great Zimbabwe and showed it was of African origin as early as 1929. Spyridon Marinatos excavated the buried village of Akrotiri on Santorini in the Aegean. Li Chi and Pei Wenzhong placed Chinese archaeology on a firm footing, while Alexy Okladnikov and Sergey Simonov did the same for Russian prehistory. We learn about pioneers of African archaeology like J. Desmond Clark, and read how Roger Green transformed our knowledge of the Early Polynesians. Some of the most thought-provoking entries describe the careers of more recent scholars, among them the legendary Vere Gordon Childe who proposed Neolithic and Urban Revolutions as a way of thinking about the remote past. There are lesser known figures, too, like the Canadian Bruce Trigger, a model of balanced theoretical reasoning and an expert on Canada’s Huron peoples, and William Sanders, an expert of ancient landscapes in Central America, who is little known outside archaeological circles.

The Kyrenia wreck

The Great Archaeologists is a global book – far more than a series of portraits of unique and engaging scholars – it’s a journey through an archaeology that began as casual antiquarianism and matured into a sophisticated, disciplined study of changes in the human experience over more than one-and-three-quarter million years. The book revolves around important discoveries and the ways in which thinking about the past has changed. Yes, there are buried treasures and gold-laden pharaohs here, but there are also insights into humbler sites, too, like 8,000 year-old Star Carr in northern England, excavated on a shoe string by Grahame Clark of Cambridge University three quarters of a century ago. He changed how we study ancient environments and the people who lived in them. This book is an archaeologist feast, designed to entertain, but, above all, to engage you in the past.’

The Great ArchaeologistsBrian Fagan has assembled a team of some of the world’s greatest living archaeologists to write knowledgeably and entertainingly about their distinguished predecessors, the result is full of fascinating anecdotes, personal accounts and unexpected insights. Available for £24.95 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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Children’s Fashion Design Book Wins SLA Award

We were delighted to find out today that How To Draw Like a Fashion Designer by Celia Joicey and Dennis Nothdruft has won the SLA Information Book award, in the 12-16+ years category.

Marlene Johnson, Managing Director of Hachette Children’s Books

Marlene Johnson, Managing Director of Hachette Children’s Books, paid tribute to the shortlisted authors and illustrators saying, ‘it’s always a great honour to sponsor the SLA Information Book Award: every year I’m impressed by the quality and variety of the books that are on the shortlist’.


The School Library Association celebrated the 2014 Information Book Award on Tuesday 30th September with an event at the Bath Children’s Literature Festival. The SLA Information Book Award is an annual event celebrating information books, and is designed to support school libraries and to reinforce the importance of non-fiction whilst highlighting the high standard of resources available.

Between June and mid-September, schools were able to cast their vote for their favourite Information Book in the SLA’s Information Book Award. The SLA and the sponsors of the Information Book Award were keen that schools and their students should have a say in the final decision. Each school could vote online for their favourite book in each category (Under 7s, 7-12 and 12-16) and for their overall favourite.

Chris Brown, chair of the judging panel said “Congratulations to all the brilliant creators of our Award winning books. The subjects covered and the variety of formats indicates a lively market place for information books. The Children’s Choices vary from the Judges showing that any good information book that grabs the interest and attentions of a young reader is a Winner!’

Celia Joicey and Dennis Nothdruft are also the authors of How to Draw Vintage Fashion.

Mid-Century Modern CompleteBe inspired by interviews with 
top designers, including Anna Sui, 
Christian Lacroix, Zandra Rhodes 
and Valentino, and discover their 
unique drawing styles. Then step 
by step start to draw your own 
fabulous fashion designs. Available for £12.95 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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Dominic Bradbury’s Mid-Century Design Wish List

Which classic mid-century pieces would feature in design writer Dominic Bradbury’s dream home? To mark the publication of his new title Mid-Century Modern Complete, we asked the author for a list of his top picks from the book. Read on for inspirational ideas from one of the most popular, collectable and dynamic periods of international design.

Furniture

Left: Charles and Ray Eames – Calf Skin and Ash Ply LCW Chair
Centre: George Nelson – Model 4658 Home Office Desk
Right: Harry Bertoia – Diamond Chair

Lighting

Left: Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni – Taccia lamp
Centre: Poul Henningsen – Artichoke Lamp
Right: Serge Mouille – Applique a Murale Cinq Bras Fixes

Glass & Ceramics

Left: Vicke Lindstrand – Kosta Vases
Centre: Stig Lindberg – Stoneware Vase
Right: Hans Coper – Black Glazed Stoneware

Textiles

Left: Josef Frank – Loops
Right: Alexander Girard – Quatrefoil

Product & Industrial 

Left: Ettore Sottsass – Valentine Typewriter
Centre: Herbert Krenchel – Krenit Bowls
Right: Jacob Jensen – Beogram 4000 Record Player

Graphics and Posters 

Left: Saul Bass – Vertigo Poster
Right: Otl Aicher – Munich Olympics Poster

Houses

Left: Craig Ellwood – Palevsky House – Pool and Patio
Centre: Andrew Geller – Frank House – Kitchen and Dining
Right: Alvar Aalto – Maison Carre – Dining Room

Join Dominic for a talk and signing at Chelsea Design Centre on 23 September 2014

Mid-Century Modern CompleteMid-Century Modern Complete is the definitive survey of one of the most popular, collectable and dynamic periods of international design. It offers a rich overview of all aspects of the subject, including furniture, lighting, glass, ceramics, textiles, product design, industrial design, graphics and posters, as well as architecture and interior design. Available for £60.00 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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Make Art With Your Hands And Feet!

We invited a class of school children to try out the engaging new art book Make art with your hands and feet! – watch what happened in this short video:

Each picture in the new book Make art with your hands and feet! has an icon to show the child what to do, whether to draw around or print. Each of the 32 pictures can be pulled out and kids are encouraged to construct their own art show with their finished pictures.

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Life Advice for Teenage Rebels

120 Ways to Annoy Your Mother (And Influence People), is a lifestyle-guide with a difference. Read on to find out how illustrator Ana Benaroya came up with the concept.

120 Ways to Annoy Your Mother

Where did the idea for the book come from? Was it something you had thought about doing for a long time?

The idea for the book evolved slowly. I wanted to create a book that I would have appreciated when I was suffering through my awkward middle-secondary school years. I’ve always felt that the selection of books for girls and young women who exist outside the mainstream is very limited. I think the downfall of so many books aimed at teen girls today is that they are about girls defining themselves by the boys they like. To counter this trend, I decided to create a kind of anti-self-help book – it will not help you do anything of real substance other than perhaps question the world around you – which I suppose is the best thing a self-help book can actually do!

120 Ways to Annoy Your Mother

Who are the characters in the book? Are they extensions of your own personality?

The main character – who has this somewhat conceited, all-knowing, snarky tone – is the narrator of the book. She’s not mean, but she isn’t very nice either. You could say she is an extension of my personality (I’d like to think I’m a much nicer person), although I wouldn’t have the courage to say half the things she says! A lot of the ‘How To’ concepts in the book came directly from my own experience and my own opinions. For instance, ‘How Not To Hate Men’ or ‘How To Walk in Heels’ are two things I constantly struggle with! ‘How To Be Interesting’ or ‘How To Pretend You Are Really Interested in Something Someone Is Talking About’ are things that I think people would actually like advice for (I don’t offer any help whatsoever). Then there are the surreal ideas, such as ‘How To Breathe Fireballs’ or ‘How To Teleport’. I thought it would be funny to include both realistic and surreal guides in my book – just to add another level of ridiculousness.

120 Ways to Annoy Your Mother

The book is very funny, and the humour captured perfectly by the illustrations. Did the writing or the illustration come first?

The writing definitely came first. I initially wrote up a list of 120 ‘How To’ ideas, then went about fleshing them all out. I’d write the 4 steps first and then figure out an appropriate activity to go along with the concept. At the very end I’d start laying out the page and come up with a humorous illustration to go alongside the text.

120 Ways to Annoy Your Mother

What do you hope the reader will get out of this book?

Hopefully they will find it funny and it will give them some solace and comfort in an oftentimes lonely world. I’ve always felt like an outsider looking in and I’ve always questioned the expectations placed upon me as a woman. I think my own questioning and my feelings of doubt, anger and happiness lead to the ideas in this book. Hopefully some of the readers will find something familiar in these ideas and feel more connected. I hope that his book will push girls to embrace all their strangeness and to be individuals. And for all the women who pick up this book, I hope it reminds them to question all the expectations that are placed upon them.

120_Ways_to_Annoy_Your_Mother_And_Influence_PeopleWant to know how to turn your life into a Soap Opera? Want to know how to create a masterpiece? This fresh new book contains 120 tips, some that really matter, some which are just off the wall and surreal. Available on 1 September 2014.
Available for £10.00 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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The Future of Fashion Photography

Which daring and inventive photographers will influence and shape fashion for the next five years? Here Magdalene Keaney, author of a new book on the subject, highlights some rising stars in fashion photography.

Tyrone Lebon, 'Adwoa' for Stussy, 2013

Tyrone Lebon, 'Adwoa' for Stussy, 2013

‘Tyrone Lebon’s diverse and often collaborative practice embraces different media and experimental techniques.’

Julia Hetta, 'Untitled' for Rodeo, 2011

Julia Hetta, 'Untitled' for Rodeo, 2011

‘Julia Hetta’s images are filled with a sense of gravitas and weight; they are still rather than fleeting.’

Laetitia Hotte, 'Contorsion' for Kenzo, 2013

Laetitia Hotte, 'Contorsion' for Kenzo, 2013

‘Laetitia Hotte’s detached compositions are often free from context or background narrative.’

Mel Bles, 'Pop', 2013

Mel Bles, 'Pop', 2013

‘Mel Bles is a studio photographer but her images are rarely composed from a single frame.’

Fashion Photography NextFashion Photography Next, by Magdalene Keaney, showcases outstandingly fresh and original fashion images by thirty-five emerging photographers from fourteen countries. An accompanying exhibition entitled Don’t Stop Now: Fashion Photography Next runs until 7 September at Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam.

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Inside a Paper Engineering Studio

Thames & Hudson designers recently met paper engineer and designer Corina Fletcher (of Corina & Co.) at her lovely studio in Lewes, to discuss a new project. Set within the grounds of an expansive farm, the studio is both light and airy, providing the perfect hub of creativity. Corina’s archive of all things paper was a delight to trawl through. More news of our project coming soon!

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Design | Comments closed
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