Life in Camp

Click the image for a larger view.

Cold and Fatigue
Standish Backus #55
Ink & crayon wax, 1956

"Twelve-hour shifts with bleak living conditions and two meals a day were the lot of the engineers and technical men in the early days of base construction at Hut Point. Heavy toil in the face of bitter winds and driving snow had its cutting, eroding and glazing effect on personnel. Individually when they could get away from their tasks they would make their way to the mess tent where they hoped to find a colossal pot of steaming hot coffee. Over a mug of java they would seek to relax long enough to permit some personality to emerge from its frozen inanimation. Then again they would have to return to driving themselves hard to forget their hard life."--Commander Standish Backus.

Warrant Officer Silas Boling
Robert Charles Haun #56
Pencil on paper, 7 January 1956

Warrant Officer Silas Boling came back after his long stretch on Navigation. The artist notes, "He's Exhausted. Bushed."

After Dinner Smoke Talk
Robert Charles Haun #49
Pencil on paper, 6 January 1956

The artist notes, "Tent caught fire from hot pipe."

First Aid Tent
Robert Charles Haun #55
Pencil on paper, 7 January 1956

Sketched in front of Dr. Erlich's first aid tent for MCB (Special).

Informal Staff Conference in Cabin
Robert Charles Haun #38
Pencil 0n paper, 1955

Men Sitting Around Fire on Ice
Robert Charles Haun #41
Watercolor on paper, 1 January 1956

The Champ
Standish Backus #41
Watercolor on paper, 1956

"Facial Hirsuteness, whether a product of expediency or glory, has always been an accepted mode for well-dressed polar inhabitants. Many members of the Operation Deep Freeze entered the hairy sweepstakes whole-heartedly with their whole chins. Winners of local honors frequently were as surprised at what happened when they stopped shaving as the losers were dismayed by what refused to grow." --Commander Standish Backus

Sketch for Triptych
Robert Charles Haun #63
Gouache & ink on paper, 22 January 1956

Among the buildings of Little America was a small hut designated as a chapel for Protestant and Catholic services. This triptych, designed and painted by Haun, was 4' x 6' and placed as an altarpiece in the chapel. A ship's carpenter helped him build it from old packing crates. It is believed to be the first ecclesiastical painting ever made in Antarctica.

The Antarctic Butcher
Standish Backus #52
Watercolor on paper, 1956

The artist's dramatic depiction of the seaman in mid-swing makes this scene appear somewhat barbaric, but in actuality, killing seals in order to feed the sled dogs was a regular, necessary task. Task Force 43 had twenty-eight huskies as part of the crew. They were on hand for rescue and reconnaissance and were used where heavy track vehicles would bog down in snow and ice.

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