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Joyce Campbell, New Zealand
Pressure Ridge, Scott Base, Antarctica, 2006
Silver gelatin print on Paper
24 in. x 36 in. (60.96 cm x 91.44 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Gelatin silver Process
Credit Line: Scripps College. Purchase made possible by the Jean and Arthur Ames Fund
Accession Number: 2007.4.1

Full Title: Last Light: Pressure Ridge, Scott Base, Antarctica

"Campbell’s most recent project, Last Light: Antarctic Photographs, resulted from her two-week expedition to the Ross Sea region of Antarctica with New Zealand’s Artists to Antarctica Program in the early spring of 2006. The Pitzer Campus Galleries exhibited select works of this project in the Antarctica exhibition from November 17th to January 12th, 2007. Campbell describes this project as “driven by my own burgeoning horror at the effects of climate change on the earth’s polar ice caps.” Through her photographs of the fractures and cracks that have resulted from the melting of the ice shelves, Campbell makes visible the effects of global warming; what she terms a 'massive cultural problem.'

For...Last Light, Campbell used anachronistic photographic techniques, which date back to the beginnings of photography in the 19th and early 20th century...For some of her work in Antarctica, Campbell used the daguerreotype process to capture a landscape that humans first viewed long after the invention of the photographic technique. On January 29th, 2008 at the Mallot Commons Tuesday Noon Academy Lecture Series, in a talk entitled, “Antarctic Gothic”, Campbell attributed her use of the daguerreotype to her desire to bring back indisputable proof of the phenomenon of global warming to skeptics. Unlike digital photography, a daguerreotype image cannot be manipulated or even duplicated. Because a daguerreotype plate is developed on the site of exposure, Campbell states that the images are “impervious to a desire to change or resist,” and in this manner can serve as a testament to the terrifying effects of global warming made visible in Antarctica’s glaciers. In addition to daguerreotypes, Campbell shot large-format negatives in order to produce large-scale silver gelatin prints. With these prints, Campbell brings her audience into physical relationship with the Antarctic landscape, which so few people are able to access. The print acquired by the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Last Light, pulls the viewer into the glistening and desolate landscape allowing her to feel for a moment lost in the expanse of snow and ice; to imagine her own vulnerability and mortality in the extreme cold."

Joyce Campbell, “Artists Walkthrough,” Antarctica: Joyce Campbell, Anne Noble, Connie Samars, Pitzer Campus Galleries: Nichols Gallery & Lenzner Family Art Gallery (Claremont, CA 20 Nov. 2007).

Written by Megan Downing (SC '08), 2007-08 Academic Year Wilson Intern.

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