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On 5 December, 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team of 27 explorers set sail for the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. The mission was to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent, coast to  coast via the South Pole. On 17 January, within sight of land, their expedition vessel, the Endurance, became frozen fast in ice floes. In May, the Antarctic sun set for the last time before winter. When spring arrived, the breaking of the ice and subsequent movement of giant ice floes splintered the ship’s hull.  On 15 November, 1915, the Endurance finally slipped beneath the ice. Stranded all alone, beyond all hope of rescue, the team was to endure the most uninhabitable, windiest, and coldest place on earth, surviving on penguins, seals and sea birds.

For five months, Shackleton and his men camped on ice floes, marched on ice for over 100 km and finally on 9 April the ice floe that they were camped on broke into two. Shackleton decided that the crew should enter the lifeboats and head for the nearest land. After seven days at sea in the three small lifeboats, the men landed on Elephant Island, but the island was also an inhospitable place far from any shipping routes and thus a very poor location to wait for rescue.  On 24 April 1916 Shackleton took decisive action and set sail for South Georgia with five of his most able men. South Georgia is a tiny island in the direct track of deep atmospheric depressions that roar through the Drake Passage between Terra del Fuego and Antarctica with near freezing annual temperatures. Miraculously they survived the 1300 km odyssey, which took two weeks in an open lifeboat across the world’s most treacherous of oceans. The crossing is regarded as the most remarkable rescue saga in maritime history. 

The story of Shackleton’s epic survival and subsequent rescue of his crew on Elephant Island (not a single crewmember was lost) is still hailed as the greatest epic of the century.

The Vision

Nearly a century later, in 2010, the heroic spirit of Shackleton lives on through a new team of explorers: to follow his footsteps, not for the glory of being the first to cross the Antarctic or the first to climb the highest mountain, but to produce a momentous documentation of one of the most beautiful places on Earth. This production will serve as a gift for future generations with an imaging epic that guarantees to inspire, invigorate and challenges us to preserve our planet.  Elysium is a project that draws upon the world’s finest nature artists and scientists to document the vista, flora and fauna of the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia. The area is regarded as one of the most enchanting wilderness regions of our planet, yet volatile and under severe threat from the warming of the world’s climate. The production promises the most awe-inspiring and stunning audio visual interpretation ever seen of Antarctica.

THE ELYSIUM Expedition – the 2010 Epic (8  February – 04 March)

February 2010, a team of 57 explorers comprising some of the world’s best wildlife photographers, film makers and marine scientists – David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Emory Kristof, Michael AW, Goran Ehlme, Ernest Brooks II, Amos Nachoum, Wyland, Leandro Blanco, Jenny Ross, Cabell Davis, Steve Nicol, Stuart Ireland, and Jonathan Shackleton (cousin of the legendary Sir Ernest Shackleton), embarked on a voyage to Antarctica. The expedition loosely followed the footsteps Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew travelled after they lost the Endurance in 1915, from the Weddell Sea, across the treacherous Drake Passage to South Georgia. 

The team captured the splendour of the fauna, terrain, sights and sounds of this enchanting region in a perspective that no one has ever seen before.

The Elysium team documented the current state of this last pristine wilderness: biological samples, photographic and video documentation captured every step of their journey. Their adventures will finally be revealed from 13th April 2013 – the launch of the multi-faceted movie.

In addition, the finest of the 20,000 images captured were displayed for the first time in an exhibition from 13th April to 4 November 2013 at the Australian National Maritime Museum. As 2014 is the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s Trans Antarctic Expedition, the Elysium movie and exhibition will premiere and launch around the world in commemoration of this journey, being featured in Hobart, Singapore, Toronto, New York, Belgium and Hong Kong.

To further commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Shackleton’s 1914 heroic Trans-Antarctic Expedition, a limited box edition hard case book featuring exquisite images by the photographers from the Elysium Epic expedition has been released. The book – “Elysium – Shakleton Antarctic Visual Epic,” is dedicated to the legendary Australian photographer Frank Hurley. This pictorial tribute succinctly encapsulates the best of the 2010 photographic epic.

Only 1,914 copies of this limited edition have been produced. This fine art production has been printed using the state-of-the-art techniques by Colourscan Singapore (known to produce books of superlative quality). 5 ready-to-frame photographic prints will be packaged with the Boxed limited edition book at AUD 238. Hard Cover edition is AUD 108 including shipping within Australia and $128 including worldwide shipping.