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Face to Face: Polar Portraits Paperback – Illustrated, 10 Nov 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: The Scott Polar Research Institute with Polarworld (10 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0901021083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0901021083
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 2.5 x 27 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,281,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Picture Book of the Year ... an evocative record of men and, latterly women who ventured, fur-clad, into the frozen wastes ... Who says the age of heroism is dead? --The Observer ... the greatest polar portraits of all time ... 'Face to Face' proves that though temperatures may rise and gear improve, the hardened look of a wind-worn face will never change. --National Geographic Adventure One of the most stunning books of polar photography in recent times ... The portraits are flanked by terrific essays from Huw Lewis-Jones and Hugh Brody, offering insights on the state of photography in the pioneering days of polar exploration as well as how we photograph expeditions in the modern world. --The Explorers Journal

'Picture book of the week' - As polar exploration and phtoography both hit their stride in the early 1900s, nobody exploited the new medium better than Ernest Shackleton. Arriving back in Britain to a huge fanfare in 1909, having reached the South Magnetic Pole, he devised a lecture "fully illustrated from photographs" and toured Europe and America to raise funds for his 1914 trans-Antarctic expedition. Huberht Hudson accompanied Shackleton on that terrifying adventure. "One never quite knows whether he's on the brink of a mental breakdown or bubbling over with suppressed intellectuality," wrote a shipmate. But Hudson was a dab hand at catching penguins [illustrated] saving the crew from starvation when the Endurance was stranded on Elephant Island. Lewis-Jones cleverly weaves the faces and stories of the famous with unknowns. "These are the same people only dressed differently," he says. --.

One of the most stunning books of polar photography in recent times ... The portraits are flanked by terrific essays from Huw Lewis-Jones and Hugh Brody, offering insights on the state of photography in the pioneering days of polar exploration as well as how we photograph expeditions in the modern world. --The Explorers Journal

Review

'Picture book of the week' - As polar exploration and phtoography both hit their stride in the early 1900s, nobody exploited the new medium better than Ernest Shackleton. Arriving back in Britain to a huge fanfare in 1909, having reached the South Magnetic Pole, he devised a lecture "fully illustrated from photographs" and toured Europe and America to raise funds for his 1914 trans-Antarctic expedition. Huberht Hudson accompanied Shackleton on that terrifying adventure. "One never quite knows whether he's on the brink of a mental breakdown or bubbling over with suppressed intellectuality," wrote a shipmate. But Hudson was a dab hand at catching penguins [illustrated] saving the crew from starvation when the Endurance was stranded on Elephant Island. Lewis-Jones cleverly weaves the faces and stories of the famous with unknowns. "These are the same people only dressed differently," he says.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Russell A. Potter on 16 Oct 2010
Format: Hardcover
Whimsy being apparently lost on the previous reviewer, I should like to put in a word for this singular collection. It doesn't seem to have been conceived as a "hall of fame" of polar explorers -- there are other books for that -- but as a collection that engages with all sorts of polar people, and all kinds of portraiture (historical and contemporary, color and black-and-white, casual and formal, etc.). There are icons enough to satisfy those who do want them (Tom Crean, Shackleton, Franklin), along with some striking ones of their wives (Kathleen Scott, Josephine Peary), but these are intermingled with pleasant surprises: lesser-known Polar figures, such as John Powles Cheyne, whose Quixotic quest to reach the Pole by balloon was dubbed "balloonacy" by Punch; Stig Hallgren, the sole survivor of an ice-tractor crash, the outline of his snow-goggles almost tattooed upon his face by exposure; and Mary Qulitalik, whose portrayal of Niriuniq in the film Atanarjuat challenged stereotypical film images of Inuit people. The question here is not who planted a flag where, but what marks the polar experience have planted upon a wide range of faces, faces of people hewn by this harsh and beautiful environment for a month, a year, or lifetime. If there are one or two odd men or women out, whose connection to the far reaches of the earth is merely imaginary, or administrative, that simply adds a touch of whimsical icing to this varied and visually striking collection.

Lewis-Jones also contributes an excellent overview of the emergence of photography in the nineteenth century, and its enormous effect on the visual culture of the day, illustrated with period images and well-chosen cartoons, which alone would be more than worth the price of the book.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Scribula on 8 Oct 2010
Format: Hardcover
Whilst only really being able to speak for myself, I still feel inclined to start off by saying "I am sure I am not the only person who...." So here goes:

I am sure I am not the only person who when they saw the cover of this book, made an assumption. An assumption that went along the lines of: This book contains photos of Polar Explorers from the early part of the 20th century photographed in black and white. The heroes, like Scott, Shackelton, Crean (the obvious shot of him with hat and pipe, and those eyes....). " And then of course you have to modify your expectations and include people from other countries (!) Amundsen and Nansen of course. And other eras maybe - Sir Ranulph Fiennes perhaps.... And Sir John Franklin from a previous era. OK - we'll allow them in gladly.

So how would you feel about equal space in this book being taken up by.... (and here I open the book at random) a colour shot of Ken Mantel taken in 2008. Who? Well Ken it transpires founded an Inuit Art Gallery in the UK. A fine looking chap in a rather mediocre photo, and doubtless doing very worthwhile work. But he is not really in the same league, is he? Neither is Jane Nedzhipova, who we learn doesn't want to be an explorer at all. She sells popcorn in North London, hasn't been further north than Birmingham, and wears a parka style anorak in the shot (you see, there is a link!). I am not making this up. I'm sure she is lots of fun, but she is not really a polar explorer, in any shape or form.

I would suggest that based on my original expectations (and yours?), about half of the portraits here are irrelevant. In their place could be images of other classic polar explorers, Otto Sverdrup (captain of Nansen's boat Fram) could get in, for example.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Frozen Men 16 Nov 2008
By Russell A. Potter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
We all know the type: knit cap or fur-trimmed parka, frost-nipped cheeks, ice-encrusted beard, and those sharp, piercing eyes that have gazed upon trackless wilderness and seen the heart of darkness in a world of light. And yet with Face to Face: Polar Portraits, Scott Polar Research Institute curator Huw Lewis-Jones has managed the seemingly impossible: among these all-too-familiar images, he has gathered together a collection of polar portraits which makes this image anew, a hundred images whose particularity and difference leap forth from the printed pages. Yes, there is Tom Crean, iconic as ever, and there is Shackleton, brash and retiring all at once, but mixed in among them is an eclectic array of explorers and adventurers we have never known before, or have known but never seen in this light. Leaping from the oldest -- the iconic 1845 daguerreotype of Sir John Franklin with his cocked hat and telescope -- to the newest -- a 2008 photo of Trevor Potts, the only man to retrace Shackleton's legendary march -- Lewis-Jones assembles a panoply of portraiture that brings rich surprises at every turn of the page. Among my personal favorites are those of women, both explorers and the partners of explorers, in whose eyes there is a still more steely resolve, and yet a visible sorrow. Kathleen Scott, in a posture that might at first seem to convey repose, offers sustenance in her gaze and steadiness in her hand; it's little wonder that Robert Falcon Scott kept two versions of this portrait near at hand; Josephine Peary, in a peaked hood that lends a strange elfin character to her face, almost dares the photographer to make her flinch (and she of course would not!). There are also some striking and seldom-seen portraits of lesser-known Polar figures, such as John Powles Cheyne, whose Quixotic quest to reach the Pole by balloon was dubbed "balloonacy" by Punch; Stig Hallgren, the sole survivor of an ice-tractor crash, the outline of his snow-goggles almost tattooed upon his face by exposure; and Mary Qulitalik, whose portrayal of Niriuniq in the film Atanarjuat challenged stereotypical film images of Inuit people.

Lewis-Jones also contributes an excellent overview of the emergence of photography in the nineteenth century, and its enormous effect on the visual culture of the day, illustrated with period images and well-chosen cartoons, which alone would be more than worth the price of the book. The distinguished explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes adds a pithy introduction, and the book concludes with a discussion with photographic master Martin Hartley,reflects on the the challenges faced by polar photographers in the past, and gives thought-provoking insights both into his present practice, and the future of photography in the digital age. This is no ordinary coffee-table book; with its singular images, the high quality of their reproduction, and the rich array of historical contexts provided for every image, Face to Face is quite simply the most engaging collection of Polar portraiture ever assembled.
Unbelievable Explores in Polar Climates 20 Nov 2013
By Sharon M. Bressen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I visited Antarctica, meet a Scottish man who is featured in this book. Purchased this book when I returned home.
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