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Antarctica comes to Auckland in an immersive new exhibition

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

“Photographing the huts was an intense and extraordinary experience." - Jane Ussher

© Jane Ussher

Step ‘inside’ the historic huts of Antarctic explorers Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton to relive a time of extraordinary polar exploration in a new exhibition based around the work of New Zealand photographer Jane Ussher. In partnership with the Antarctic Heritage Trust, ‘Still Life: Inside the Antarctic Huts of Scott and Shackleton’ opens at Auckland Museum on 27 August 2014.

The exhibition is based on Jane’s evocative series of images of Scott and Shackleton's historic expedition bases. These iconic structures, now cared for by the Antarctic Heritage Trust, are associated with some of the most inspirational and harrowing stories in polar history.

Jane says that when documenting the huts she was aware that for many people it would be as close as they would ever come to being there. “Photographing the huts was an intense and extraordinary experience. The knowledge of the tragic outcome of Scott’s expedition, and the extreme levels of bravery and sacrifice they needed to survive were ever-present. In all their gloom, their intimacy and their stillness, I hope the photographs stand as a record of something special and lasting that took place in the white world of Antarctica.”

Standing at the heart of the exhibition is a unique audiovisual experience created by Jane, with support from the Antarctic Heritage Trust and the Christchurch City Council for NZ IceFest 2012. The timed sensory experience allows visitors to step inside a specially designed cube to become immersed through Jane’s images in the landscape, isolation and lives left behind by these heroic early explorers.

Visitors will also encounter rarely seen Antarctic objects from the Museum’s collections which further help to tell the stories of what it was like to live, work, and play in the earth’s southern-most continent.

The exhibition is supported by a series of Smart Talks with Antarctic experts and coincides with the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) conference in Auckland (25 August – 28 August) and NZ IceFest 2014 in Christchurch (26 September – 12 October).

Still Life: inside the Antarctic huts of Scott and Shackleton

Dates: 27 August – 5 October
Admission: free with Museum entry

Media contact

For more information, to obtain images or to arrange interviews with spokespeople, please contact:

Marty Jones
Publicist , Auckland War Memorial Museum
T: +64 9 306 7098
M: +64 21 899 306

Jane Ussher

Jane Ussher is well known and respected for her documentary work as a photographer, and is regarded as one of New Zealand's foremost portrait photographers. For 29 years she was the chief photographer at The New Zealand Listener, after which she took up a career as a freelance photographer. In the past few years she has worked extensively for Red Cross and Oxfam, documenting their relief work in the Pacific Islands, as well as photographing for several leading New Zealand magazines. Her work has featured in many books, including collections of her own photographs. In 2009 she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to photography, and was also indicted into the Massey University Hall of Fame.

Antarctic Heritage Trust

Since 2002 the Antarctic Heritage Trust has been engaged in the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project, a long-term, multi-site cold-climate conservation project to conserve four historic expedition bases and their contents left behind in the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica and hailing from the ‘heroic age’ of Antarctic exploration (1895 – 1917). The Trust has conserved Ernest Shackleton’s only Antarctic base including 6000 artefacts, and Captain Scott’s expedition base at Cape Evans. Scott’s hut alone has more than 10,500 objects that the Trust cares for. In 2012 the Trust took on the responsibility for conserving Sir Edmund Hillary’s original 1957 Trans-Antarctic Expedition base.