Anne Lydiat and Chris Wainwright (1955-2017)
“Poles” refers to the geographic North and South Poles, the farthest points on Earth in opposite directions. The phrase draws an analogy between the extreme distance and dissimilarity of these geographical poles and the vast differences between the two entities”.
In this exhibition Anne Lydiat shows her own from Antarctica and her late husband Chris Wainwright’s work from the Arctic literally ‘Poles Apart’ both geographically, physically and emotionally.
Anne Lydiat’s photographs were made whilst on a voyage to Antarctica in February/March 2019. After Chris’ death I wanted to visit a place that we had not visited together and for the first time I sailed without him…
I signed up to sail on board the Norwegian registered ship the MS MIDNATSOL (renamed the MS MAUD in 2021) on the last ship before the onset of winter along with approximately 500 other passengers most of whom were onboard to photograph the fauna: penguins, whales and albatross. I chose a Hurtigruten ship because of their commitment to fight climate change and stop unsustainable mass tourism as much as is possible on a big ship. The numbers visiting Antarctica are tightly controlled and very rule bound in terms of accessibility.
We firstly flew from Buenos Aires down to Ushuaia, a resort town in the Tierra del Fuego Province and the gateway to Antarctica (the vast ice-covered landmass surrounded by sea – unlike the Arctic which is an ice-covered ocean surrounded by land).
We sailed from Ushuaia 54.8019° S, 68.6451° W across the Drake Passage. Our first task was to vacuum every item of clothing we intended to wear whilst in Antarctica and issued with a pair of rubber boots and a very red waterproof so that we could be spotted if we deviated from the red flagged pathways at each destination. It was not an easy voyage as I was seasick most of the time. My intention was to capture the essence of the beauty of the Antarctic landscape; the absence of human presence in the various stations and the overriding sense of death and decay prevalent especially in Whalers Bay where wooden structures rotted alongside the bones of whales.
We called at HALF MOON ISLAND 62.95884° S, 59.9215° W where the Argentine Research Station ‘Camara Base’ is located; WHALERS BAY/DECEPTION ISLAND 62.9594° S, 60.6451° W so named because of its use as a whaling station; BROWN STATION 64.8954° S, 62.8706° W an Argentinian base and research station; DAMOY POINT 64.4904° S, 63.3015° W entrance point to Port Lockroy and the site of the Damoy Hut (Built 1975) now an historic site and finally ARKTOWSKI STATION 62.1599° S, 58.4690° W Polish Antarctic Station an all year round research facility and the site of the southernmost lighthouse at Point Thomas.
The photographs I have selected to show at ‘POLES APART’, Hastings Arts Forum, 31 October – 12 November, will be exhibited in the gallery and images from all the stations mentioned above can be seen in the book “The Presence of Absence” Photography Number 12, published by Silverhill Press will be available at the desk of the gallery.
CHRIS WAINWRIGHT (1955-2017)
The photographs I have selected to show at ‘POLES APART’, Hastings Arts Forum, 31 October – 12 November, are a small part of Chris’ concern for the Arctic in particular, how this once pristine, inaccessible landscape has been so affected by human intervention for example coal mining in the Svalbard archipelago, tourism and the now the obvious effects of climate change in Arctic regions.