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Imperial Transantarctic Expedition 1914-1916

Deck of the Endurance on the way south©

Shackleton set out in October 1914 on the Endurance with the intention of making the first crossing of the Antarctic continent via the South Pole. While he and his men planned to reach Antarctica through the Weddell Sea, another party aboard the Aurora sailed to the other side of the continent to lay food depots for the expected party.

The intention was that only six men would complete the crossing; the photographer Frank Hurley was to be one of the team. Hurley had been to the Antarctic before, as part of the Australasian Expedition of 1911–14. He was intrepid in his search for dramatic images. The role of photographer was important not just to document the achievements of the expedition, but also to create a source of income. The rights to publish the images would be sold for a great deal of money after the return to Britain.

The expedition ran into difficulties almost immediately. By mid-January 1915, Endurance became trapped in ice and had to become a floating scientific station. The men waited out the harsh Antarctic winter in the hope that their situation would improve.

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