Research Blog Antarctica #170 – DeepFreeze!

Non-fiction: Robert A. McCabe: DeepFreeze! (International Photography Publishers, 2010)

DeepFreeze! is a photobook documenting a trip to the Antarctic by the American photojournalist Robert A. McCabe. The title of the book comes from Operation Deep Freeze, the name of the American Antarctic programs started in 1955. McCabe’s visit to Antarctica occurred in 1959.

This is a book of beautiful, evocative and expressive black and white images. Photographing Antarctica has presented challenges for many photographers but McCabe is good at it, bringing out the lights and shadows very well.

Antarctica is often photographed by nature photographers, while McCabe is a newsman. Perhaps because of this, the images are more dynamic and don’t shy away from the human element. There are cargo holds, the tips of plane wings and other signs of the specific moment when the photo was taken.

This makes the book especially interesting. What might have been banal in 1959 is fascinating historical detail now that sixty years have passed. It’s interesting to look at how the Antarctic workers of that time dressed, how the huts looked, what kind of vehicles they had.