Ernest Shackleton's failed expedition to South Pole


Ernest Shackleton made three expeditions to the South Pole. Two of them have been very successful, and during the third expedition,in 1914, the research vessel “Endurance” sank to the bottom of the ocean. The expedition managed to survive and wondered around the South Pole for 497 days right up to 1917.

Author: Shahidul Alam

Time Magazine Person of the Year 2018. A photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. His seminal work “The Struggle for Democracy” contributed to the removal of General Ershad. Former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the Drik agency, Chobi Mela festival and Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world. Shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern, Alam has been guest curator of Whitechapel Gallery, Winterthur Gallery and Musee de Quai Branly. His awards include Mother Jones, Shilpakala Award and Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dali International Festival of Photography. Speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, TEDx, POPTech and National Geographic, Alam chaired the international jury of the prestigious World Press Photo contest. Honorary Fellow of Royal Photographic Society, Alam is visiting professor of Sunderland University in UK and advisory board member of National Geographic Society. John Morris, the former picture editor of Life Magazine describes his book “My journey as a witness”, (listed in “Best Photo Books of 2011” by American Photo), as “The most important book ever written by a photographer.”

2 thoughts on “Ernest Shackleton's failed expedition to South Pole”

  1. Hi Buddy
    Would love to discuss Ernest Shackleton with you if we meet in February. One of the all time great Team Leaders. Though not strictly true about saving all the lives of his men as three of the depot laying party perished. A monumental achievement none the less.

  2. There was a recent BBC documentry on Shackletons right hand man, Frank Wilde. He was the man that was left behind on Elephant island to lead and direct the stranded party of 24, while Shackleton and 4 others, including the great Irishman Tom Crean sailed the trecherous ocean in a small lifeboat to get help. The point of the documentry was to lay the ashes of Frank Wilde next to the grave of his leader, Shackleton on south Georgia island. Frank Wilde had a brother, Ernest, who was part of the depot laying team stranded on the other side of Antartica, as their ship had drifted from its moorings into the ocean. Shackleton’s massive achievement was in managing to reach a Whaleing station on south Georgia and eventually reaching Chile where a boat was offered by the government . All 29 men were rescued in 1917 including the depot laying team, although 3 of those had perished in conditions that we can barely imagine. Now here is where i come in. Ernest Wilde was a depot laying survivor. On his return to the UK he reported for First World war duty, as he was in the Royal Navy. He was posted to the Mediteranean were in March 1918 he cotracted Typhoid and died. Thanks to the power of the internet i found his grave in the cottonara cemetry in Malta. There is no marker or mention of him being part of probably the greatest rescue of all time. And so sad that he should die only months after this monumental event. The photo’s that you have shown Shahidul were taken by the the Australian photographer Frank Hurley and what an Historical record he has depicted there,probably the best of it’s kind. From an ironnic perspective when i was a lad back in 1973 i was collecting PG tips picture cards of great explorers,there was a set of 50 cards. Ernest Shackleton was among them, i still have the album to this day. I showed my collection to a certain Shahidul Alam, he was impressed i believe, and pointed out Ibn Battuta who i had never previously known off.

Leave a Reply