Antarctica #3570, 2009
Photograph, 30 x 40 inches
Edition of 7
Courtesy of the artist
Colombian/American Santiago Vanegas sailed to Antarctica - a three-day trek through the Southern Ocean, notorious for being one of the roughest seas in the world - on a refurbished ferry (albeit one from Greenland with a specially hardened hull). On deck, when winds reached 90mph causing the skin on his face to ripple he experienced “a little concern”.
Vanegas made it though - and spent a sublime two weeks on Antarctica. He describes the whiteness of the ice and snow, the blackness of the ocean, the purity of the air, the richness of the wildlife, the perpetual daylight, and the overwhelming vastness of the landscape.
He saw an iceberg, the size of 15-20 city blocks, melt in two minutes; tells of scrubbing his boots with disinfectant each time he arrived on - and left - land so as not to transmit bacteria; describes visiting the scientists at Port Lockroy and buying postcards (with stamps featuring the Queen’s head) to send from its post office. Unsurprisingly, he says: “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that experience.”
Hedge, issue 38, December 2015, pp38-46