Skip to main content

Henry Ponting & The Great White Silence!

So I finally made the trip out to Woodend Barn in Banchory, a newish arts venue with rather a lot going on! From gigs to dance performances, exhibitions to work shops there seems to be an abundance of activities taking place at the barn and a screening of Henry Ponting's "The Great White Silence" is the reason I finally ventured out!

The film follows Captain Scott's final polar expedition, a trip which would eventually end with Scott's death and that of his 4 man expedition team. Meticulous hand drawn titles open up to incredible black and white footage of the good ship 'Terra Nova' docked and being loaded with supplies for the journey to the Pole. Ponting was sure to capture every detail of the crew and the journey from the on board entertainment (dancing and playing fiddles) to the daily working of the ship. As they near the Polar cap the pack ice begins to appear and some incredible footage reveals how the steel plated hull smashed through the blocks, a shot which required Ponting to edge his way out on a wooden plank suspended over the ice with his movie camera, one slip and that would have been it!

The film changes colour throughout which broke it up into nice sections, along with the hand drawn titles which explained each part of the story. The sled dogs stories are quite moving, you can almost taste the excitement when they first hit land. The setting up of various camps along the route and the exploration of the surrounding area is fascinating. Its the footage of the various wildlife which inhabits the Pole, the seals, whales and birds, some of which were being captured for the very first time that amazed me, to think how it must have felt to document such amazing sights. And the magnificence of the scenery is breathtaking. All of which is complimented with a new ambient soundtrack composed by Simon Fisher Turtner (a review of which can be read here).

I couldn't help but feel a pang of sadness as the film draws to an end with the team discovering they'd been beaten to the Pole by Amundsen, a fact which may have dampened their spirits and contributed to their eventual deaths. The ghostly illustration of Oates walking out to his death in an attempt to save his party is haunting and the discovery of Scott's final resting place and camp, only a few miles from their next supply depot is crushing. It was quite incredible to see movies of the expedition, bringing to life the reality and hardships of exploration in those early days but also the friendships and adventure, the excitement each man must have felt seeing new lands and sights which even now only a few are lucky enough to see first hand. Truly inspiring stuff!

If you'd like to see more photographs of the Terra Nova expedition check here, for information about Captain Scott and his men try here and check out the trailer here!


Popular posts from this blog

Painted Doors 2017 - Year 2 Recap!

It's been a busy old year and I for one cannot wait for the christmas break. I'm lucky to be off til the new year and I'm hoping it'll be a chance to catch up and take stock. Its certainly been another busy year for art and culture in Aberdeen and especially putting art into the public realm. Nuart Aberdeen, Look Again Festival and Painted Doors both provided lots of incredible opportunities, and the artworks were nae bad as well. But with famous street artists and international design stars on the programme, what makes Painted Doors special?

Firstly all the artists are from or are based in Aberdeen. And many of them are new faces to me which is a good sign that we have a healthy creative scene in the city. I pride myself on getting out and meeting artists and creatives and spend a lot of time trying to help promote and shine a light on their work but even in the big village of Aberdeen where everyone knows everyone its fantastic to come across new faces. The artists fo…

NUART Aberdeen - Part 1, Production Week!

By now the sight of a giant yellow cherry picker at the Indoor Market is a common sight with hundreds of photos appearing across Instagram and Facebook. NUART Aberdeen kicked off last week with the arrival of our first artist Martin Whatson. I had the pleasure of seeing Martin at work up a cherry picker in Stavanger for NUART 2014, a sight that definitely makes you stop and stare. Having initially met team NUART on their first few visits to Aberdeen I'd offered to help in any way I could and was given the role of artist host. I would be meeting them at the hotel, showing them around and hopefully giving them a little insight into our fair city.

So on a sunny Wednesday we headed to airport to meet the infamous Martin Whatson. Being the first to arrive I was a little unsure what to expect, after all I've been a huge fan of street art for 10+ years and to be honest the whole concept of NUART in Aberdeen has been blowing my mind for months. So when this tall blonde Norwegian appear…

Painted Doors Aberdeen Project Recap!

With spring upon us new artists will be added to the painted doors line up and well have a fine selection of large scale walls by the NUART Aberdeen which is kicking off tomorrow with a host of international talents. I wanted to share all of the completed doors to date and shine a bit more light on the door artists, collating them all before part 2 kicks off. Already the doors have had a big impact on local business and the people who frequent them such as Contour Café and Cafe52 on the Green. With a clear view of Katie Guthrie and Cosmic Nuggets doors, Contour is the perfect spot to get some lunch and a perfect view.
With the doors stretching from just off the Green to the far end of Langstane Place you can have yourself a nice little walk along the back streets, avoiding the bustle of Union Street. Its a nice way to connect up some Aberdeen's more overlooked areas and really conveys for me what art can do, in making us look at our surroundings a little differently and seeing the …

'Darkness Can't Exist In The Light' by Jo Muir at The Anatomy Rooms!

If you've been in town recently then you'll certainly have seen the banners and posters proclaiming "Art is the new Oil" although I think its less a proclamation as it is a question. The poster is part of a campaign by Citymoves Dance Agency to promote their 3 week festival of dance which finished a few weeks back. Now partner organisation with The Anatomy Rooms (Citymoves have taken on the large open plan dissection rooms) they aim to bring contemporary dance to the forefront of Aberdeens cultural offering. I'm sad to say I couldn't make it the various events but did get a look at Jo Muir's exhibition, organised to coincide with the festival.

Jo is one of the numerous artists based in the Anatomy Rooms studios and has spent the last 12 months hiding from day light and working out her ideas. She was finally ready to present a new body of work which seemed like a perfect fit with Dance Live and so over the course of 3 weekends the show was open to the publi…

'Markings' by Jo Mcintosh at Parx Cafe!

'Markings' is the current show on display at Parx Cafe in Aberdeen's West End. Located just off Rubislaw Terrace. 'Markings' showcases the work of print maker and book maker Jo Mcintosh and features a lovely selection of work from editioned screen prints to hand stiched accordion style paper books. Although Aberdeen isn't short of galleries it's quite nice to be able to grab something fine for lunch while checking out what's on the walls. Its probably one of the things I miss the most about the EARL of Sandwich, that and the fact they gave me a panini tab!

Parx Cafe has been a regular spot to check out new artists and its refreshing to find an artist like Jo who's got an extensive background in the arts and I'm only just discovering her work now. From her degree in fashion design to running creative workshops and now in her current capacity as a lecturer, Jo has certainly been carving out a unique style and approach to her art. Although her work …