I’ve been chosen by the National Science Foundation to participate in their Antarctic Artists and Writers Program again. My first visit to Antarctica was a seven week project in 2015 to McMurdo Station, for which I had a very successful Kickstarter campaign to help diffuse costs of the project. The NSF’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program provides room, board and transportation for the artist to Antarctica, but there is no monetary award, so all project related expenses fall to the artist. These can be substantial, especially for a photographer where equipment costs are high, redundant backup gear is necessary, cold weather clothing needs buying (some of which the NSF provides) and project related travel expenses are high (I have to cover multiple nights in hotels in both directions). Not to mention keeping the lights on at home while away.
This new project is a three week trip to Palmer Station, a US Antarctic station located on the Antarctic Peninsula, due south of the tip of South America. In late October I’ll be flying to Punta Arenas in southern Chile, then boarding the NSF ice breaker Laurence M. Gould (LMG) for the 4 day crossing of the Drake Passage, known to be the roughest seas in the world. I’ll be living aboard the LMG for the duration of my stay at Palmer Station.
The object of the project is a photographic study of the Station and surrounding landscapes. I’m interested in the relationship between the architecture of the station and the science taking place, looking at architecture as scientific instrument and integral part of the scientific process. As with the McMurdo project, I’ll be spending time in the field with researchers, and photographing the amazing landscapes of this region. The goal is a full documentation of the entire expedition, including the Drake Passage crossings, and a stop in the South Shetland Islands to make an excursion to photograph the NOAA station at Cape Shirreff. I’ll also be hosting a Smithsonian Museum Instagram feed during the expedition.
I’m offering prints and a book from the project as rewards for supporting this work. I look at this exchange as a trade, you're helping me with needed funding for the project and you get a valuable object in return. I’ll also be offering framed prints exhibited at the Berkshire Museum from my first visit to Antarctica. The Berkshire Museum show is running from June -October 2017. The book will be a signed 8½ x 11 book available for higher level donations. The reason the book is at a higher level is that it takes a lot of resources to design and produce a book, they are expensive to make and distribute. But I think they are worth the cost because the book will included about 100 images, giving a good sense of the full scope of the project. And it is a unique object, only available to Kickstarter supporters.
I will be posting updates during the trip to the same blog that I used for the previous trip to Antarctica. That blog is located at www.popantarctica.wordpress.com.
Also check out the many photographs from the first trip at my main website located here www.new.oboylephoto.com.
Risks and challenges
Risks of the project are largely related to weather conditions, which can hamper field work and photography to some degree. I'm traveling to Palmer Station in late October, which is "spring" in Antarctica, so foul weather can and will blow in. That said, foul weather can produce some of the most dramatic photographs of a place, so any weather will be good weather to photograph as long as it's safe.
Final project approval has come through, the final piece was passing the rigorous NSF Physical Qualification or PQ, and I passed, so it's off to Antarctica on October 18th!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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