At its core, it’s a tale of one man’s drive to overcome the odds to reach and photograph this most magical and elusive of regions. It is also a story about the majesty of nature, its wonders and dangers, and how, despite our best efforts, we will never fully understand all that it is. That is not to say there isn’t immense joy to be had from trying, however, and it is the exhilaration of the journey, the thrill of the chase that shines through in Enzo Barracco’s book. Inspired by intrepid Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, Barracco spent a month in Antarctica, enduring inhospitable conditions, battling powerful storms and treacherous seas, to capture the beauty of this ‘freezing desert’, to quote Sir Ranulph Fiennes who contributes a lively foreword.
His aim, Barracco explains, was to create a dialogue between man and nature, and he does this through insightful and very readable snippets of text that appear throughout. These diary-esque sections, written with great humility, are a fascinating read and complement the breathtaking images perfectly. We hear about a near-death experience as Barracco and his team narrowly escaped a falling piece of ice (he vividly describes how the ice groaned as it cracked), and how the team survived their journey across the infamous Drake Passage, which lived up to its ‘reputation as a fearsome stretch of water’.
Implicit throughout is a rallying call for action, and the Italian photographer presents a compelling case for why we should do everything in our power to protect this precious and at-risk part of the world. A worthy tribute to a magnificent region.