Wanderlust and the desire to seek out beauty and adventure have been part of human nature since the beginning of time. From Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expeditions to the Antarctic, Amelia Earhart’s solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean to Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest ascent there are myriad examples of people giving in to the impulse to go out and discover new things. Photographer Rene Koster was early on fascinated with the photographs of Frank Hurley, who documented Shackleton’s monumental journey. Not content with just looking at others work, Koster boarded a tall ship and made the journey to Antarctica himself.
Here is Koster about the project that took him to Antarctica, in his own words:
“The Project ‘Antarctica’ shows a series of photographs of a voyage to the South Pole. I traveled with a sailing ship which was built in 1911; the same period the last great expeditions left for the unknown continent. Thoughts of frozen ships trapped in ice-covered seas cross my mind, images of the photographers who joined these expeditions to report of the unexplored. Fascinated by their stories I head for the same circumstances as those of the early twentieth century. A journey of longing, to a time that once was. An heroic saga; filled with hardship and adventure, in an infinite, barren land.
“This series of photographs, taken with modern equipment, is a reference to the past. Personally, I feel no need for the photographs to look as if they have been created with techniques of the early 1900’s. This is why I have deliberately chosen to work in colour; allowing the greyscales of the landscape to emphasize the blue captured in ice. In my search for the right images, I have tried to avoid as many elements of the present time as possible; things that would remind me of everyday life. The calm misty weather gives me a sense of desolation and makes the world feel smaller. The slow rate of traveling by sailing ship influences my way of taking photographs: searching for stillness, harmony and tragedy in the landscape. Seeking beauty (or “In search of beauty”), the beauty of emptiness and cold.”