Last Night – Stewart Dodd

We got something of the unexpected with Stewart Dodd, from nearby Dundee. A tale of exploration of epic proportions, to the ends of the earth known as South Georgia, at the eponymous 54 Degrees South. Stewart’s trip – nay, two trips – in search of wildlife photography opportunities took him by air to Chile and the Falkland Islands, and then by sailing boat to South Georgia, with its isolated settlements, icebergs large and small, and all manner of sub-polar creatures. We saw his images of albatross, petrel, penguin, Weddell seal, elephant seal, and marvelled.

The scenes of rusting metal at the derelict whaling stations, persistent remnants of the pursuit of riches, were in stark contrast to the pristine but unforgiving landscapes beyond. (As far as Great Britain was concerned, much of this pursuit originated in Dundee. Ernest Shackleton, of the fabled Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914, even stood for the Dundee seat in parliament in the 1906 election, before returning south along with the pioneering photographer Frank Hurley.) Nowadays, the greater pursuit is of knowledge, and includes, as shown, the tagging of seals in order to track their journeys through the Southern Ocean.

Not many of us will get the chance to go where Stewart has gone, and as the evenings in Perth start to get cooler – but not as cool as there – it was a night to sit back and gaze in wonder.