Antarctica: Photographs by Santiago Vanegas
In 2008, photographer Santiago Vanegas traveled to Antarctica aboard a
Quark Expeditions vessel and saw a still, brooding land that most humans
never will see firsthand. He writes about it below:
I returned from Antarctica in January of 2009, and I still can’t fathom
that I was there. It’s like going to another planet. Not that I’ve been
to another planet, but I can imagine that this is the closest I’ll ever
be to one. Ironically, being in Antarctica has probably been the closest
I’ve felt to Earth. The experience of being there has generated a series
of extreme opposing images. The image of extreme scale. Extremely large
landscape, tiny human. The towering human threat to nature, the delicate
and vulnerable polar (global) ecology. The unforgiving Drake Passage crossing,
our 240-foot ship at the mercy of 30- to 50-foot waves. Life, death. The list
goes on. It’s humbling.
People ask me, “Why go to Antarctica?”
There are many reasons, some of which I have yet to discover. I wanted to go to
Antarctica because very soon it will be a very different place. As we speak,
ice shelves the size of entire countries are breaking off the continent and
melting into the ocean. Antarctica is dying. Twiddling my thumbs is not an option.
I had to go, absorb and tell a story. The magnificence of Antarctica. Such an
unlikely and complex place to visit. I just couldn’t pass on the opportunity to
visit another planet.
I guess you could say that my reasons for going are Death and Beauty.
100 percent of sales from the photographs on display at
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will go to nongovernment
organizations with the mandate to protect the Arctic and Antarctic environments.
The exhibit photographs will ship upon conclusion of the exhibit in March 2012.
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