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South Georgia Appoints UK Photographer As Artist In Residence

Sub Antarctic island South Georgia has appointed British photographer Jamie Grant as artist in residence.

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Jamie Grant by Jean Adams

Image © Jean Adams

Perthshire photographer Jamie Grant, who has exhibited work in Edinburgh’s National Gallery and Perth Museum, will later this year be embarking on a 15,000 mile round trip to the remote sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia to spend 50 days on the island capturing its unique landscape and architecture as chosen artist in residence for the South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT). He will take up the post in October 2015 with plans to publish a book of photographs from the island with the Watermill Bookshop in 2016.

Grant will be the first photographer to be chosen as artist in residence by SGHT. While on location, he hopes to capture a rich selection of wildlife, landscape and architecture imagery to compile into a coffee table-style book to be distributed throughout the UK. During his time on the island Jamie will also volunteer in island life, playing a role in the administration of the South Georgia Museum which will also sell copies of his book once published. Grant says, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity to photograph one of the wildest corners of the world. I’ve long been fascinated by South Georgia’s landscapes, wildlife and history and this will be an adventure of a lifetime for me.”

South Georgia’s location between southern, cold Antarctic waters and warmer currents to the north make it a haven for wildlife. There are abundant bird populations, including albatrosses and King Penguins while huge breeding populations of seals occupy the beaches in the southern months and whales are increasingly spotted off the headlands. The island’s natural history is matched by a fascinating human heritage. Not only is it the site of many historical Antarctic expeditions, but it is also the burial ground of world famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. In the 19th century South Georgia became a popular hunting base for sealers, and became the centre of whaling activities in the surrounding seas. While whaling on South Georgia ended in the 1960’s the whaling station and much of the architecture at Leith Harbor remains relatively intact.

SGHT has been working tirelessly for the past five years on the world’s largest rat eradication project in a bid to save South Georgia’s bird populations falling prey to invasive brown rats. Having completed the final phase of baiting the island, the Habitat Restoration Project should enable native species such as the South Georgia Pintail duck and South Georgia Pipit to recover where their numbers have previously been decimated by rats eating eggs and chicks, and Jamie could be one of the first visitors to witness and capture on camera the species’ come-back.

Alison Neil, Chief Executive of SGHT says, “Jamie Grant will be the first photographer that we have commissioned as an artist in residence on South Georgia. We are confident that he will be able to capture not only the beauty of the island, but its rich heritage as a flagship for intrepid exploration and its industrial past. South Georgia is not easily accessible to the public, so Jamie’s book will help to bridge the gap between this tiny island steeped in history, and the rest of the world.”

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