Hurley's work documenting the ice provides us with an accurate picture of the often confronting conditions in which the men of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition lived and worked.
Drawing on his experience as a landscape photographer Hurley had an eye for the dramatic and evocative landscape. His desire for artistic representations and for a precise artistic outcome meant that many of his shots were well composed and rich in feature and form.
Hurley’s images of Antarctica are hauntingly beautiful. They are evocative reminders of the strangeness and magnitude of the ice so far to the south of the Australian continent.
During the first year of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition and particularly during the last relief voyage of the expedition, (1914) Hurley was fascinated by the natural history of the south and he took beautiful and affectionate photographs of the wildlife. Hurley’s images of the wildlife of Antarctica were among the first ever taken.
Hurley's shots were carefully crafted and technically excellent. He experimented with his photographic equipment, camera technique and subjects; assessing light, angles and perspectives. Hurley, the perfectionist, was in his element.
The images of the animals of the south show us the tremendous power of life in the Antarctic. Despite the rigours of the environment, the Antarctic wildlife survives and breeds. Hurley saw this life and rendered it in his photography.