Bozeman, MT: Doring Press, 2020.
First printing. 14.25 x 21.5 inches (closed); 29 x 21.5 inches (open). Printed cloth over boards, in custom cloth-covered clamshell case. With twenty-four color photographs by Ian van Coller, three historic black-and-white images by Herbert Ponting, and an essay (“On the Event Horizon”) by William L. Fox.
All images pigment prints on Asuka paper, in a drum-leaf binding. Layout and printing by the photographer; book and binding design by John DeMerritt of San Francisco. Book bound in natural Japanese linen, clamshell case in Blue Dubletta fabric, both stamped in copper.
Edition of eight numbered and signed copies. New. Item #4519
The latest in Ian van Coller’s series of astonishing photographic books devoted to documenting disappearing glaciers and remaining natural wonders around the world, meditations on what we stand to lose, in the face of what humans are doing to the planet. This is the second book to come out of Ian’s fall 2019 residency in the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists & Writers program, and is devoted to the site of one of the few architectural landmarks on the continent, the Scott Hut, also known as Winter Quarters. (Ian’s previous Antarctic book, Fracture, and his collaboration with printmakers Todd Anderson and Bruce Crownover, ROMO (Rocky Mountain National Park): The Last Glacier, can be seen on the Passages Bookshop site.)
The fifty by twenty-five foot hut, erected just over a century ago, was large enough to house the twenty-five members of Robert Falcon Scott’s second expedition to the Antarctic, as well as their gear and supplies, a messroom, labs with scientific equipment, and a darkroom for Hubert Ponting, the expedition photographer. Scott and a small company left the hut in January 1911, hoping to be the first to the South Pole, but discovered when they arrived that Roald Amundsen had beaten them there. They turned around, but didn’t make it back, perishing on the way. The hut was used again (and for the last time) by some of Ernest Shackleton’s stranded men in 1915–17.
Ian’s large-format books change the relationship of the viewer to the image: rather than perceiving the book as an object, the viewer feels that they have entered an environment. Though the editions are very small, the books have happily found their way into many prominent institutional collections across the country (such as the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Metropolitan Museum, Yale, Stanford, etc.), where they are seen by scores of students, scholars, and fellow artists.
From the essay by William Fox (author of numerous books about landscape and cognition, including Terra Antarctica):
In Ian Van Coller’s images of Cape Evans there is a rare balance among photographs of the hut’s interior, its site, and the surrounding landscape. That concatenation places the viewer on an edge, a horizon from more than a century ago where time simultaneously passes and stands still in the hut. You find yourself standing next to the explorers, a privilege only a very few artists will ever accord us in the Antarctic.