September 13–December 24, 2007
Since its invention in the mid-nineteenth century, photography has played an invaluable role in the exploration and documentation of unknown geographical territory—the Earth's polar regions among them. Many photographers, rather than simply recording the landscape encountered on these polar expeditions, seized upon the capabilities of the photograph as an artistic medium to capture the unique visual and psychological experience of the region.
Artists to this day continue to be inspired by the spare, Arctic and Antarctic landscapes—their imaginations often set alight by the images of the nineteenth-century photographers who first ventured there. A selection of these rarely seen nineteenth-century photographs will be among the works featured in this fascinating and timely exhibition comprised of approximately 65 photographs and stereographs dating from 1860 to the present day. Included will be images of the Arctic from the Isaac Israel Hayes expedition of 1869, Count Wilczek's 1872 Arctic travels, and Robert Peary's expeditions of 1898–1902, among others, and contemporary photographs by Subhankar Banerjee, Diane Cook, Rena Bass Forman, John Holmgren, and Stuart Klipper. These photographs may one day be all that remain of a region now providing the most extreme evidence of our rapidly warming climate.