Shot in the Antarctic, these photographs skirt the outer perimeter of the known and inhabitable world. They are stark, horizonless scenes that confuse our expectations of conventional landscape photography. Here, scale is indeterminate and form appears almost erased from view as the differentiation between land, air and sea collapses. Subtle tonal shifts carry the faintest suggestion of topography, yet even this is deceptive. The ice-blue tone is fabricated, produced by printing black-and-white negatives on colour paper.
As they elude and disorient our gaze, these photographs serve as poignant reminders of the enormity and impenetrability of the land. Describing his excursion to the Antarctic, Stephenson has said, ‘I found a place that seemed so indifferent to humanity. But of course, we now realise how fragile that landscape really is’. Even as the landscape evades our perception, it is not invulnerable to our actions. With hindsight, these minimalist blue-hued photographs appear laced with melancholy.