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Photographs From The Ends Of The Earth
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Indy Lifestyle Online
MAYBE YOU'VE scoured Oxford Street, braved the crowds in Covent Garden and fought with the best of them in Knightsbridge to find that elusive Christmas present. But have you been to "The Ends of the Earth"?

The photographic exhibition of this name, which opened on Thursday at London's Atlas Studio Gallery, includes a range of global 19th- and early- 20th-century vintage travel and explorative photography, and would seem a good place to start your shopping for something a bit different.

Ben Burdett, the exhibition organiser, is hoping that the displays will appeal to those people for whom the recent interest in vintage photography has become a passion. "This is a unique selling exhibition with a broad range of scenic, cultural and architectural pictures.

"We've recently finished a showcase of Edward S Curtis works, and edited highlights of this will be available."

Some of the rare pictures the exhibition boasts are prints of Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition to the Antarctic, as well as some of the earliest photographs ever taken of Mount Everest, and even a shot of The Endurance.

Maori Embrace looks set to be a particular favourite. A 19th- century albumen print by the Foy brothers, this intimate shot of a Maori man and woman shrouded by an exotic blanket is just one of the extensive Australasian pictures.

Should you desire something a little less cuddly this Christmas, then Shepherd and Robertson's print from India, Snake Charmers, will certainly grab the recipient's rapt attention.

All the photographs are available for purchase, and prices range from pounds 80 for an evocative 19th-century albumen print of the Egyptian Ruins by Antoine Beato, to pounds 3,200 for a portrait of the explorer Edward Wilson - taken just before he set off for the South Pole, and captured in silver gelatin print by Herbert G Ponting.

For those plagued by indecision, or who merely want to browse, viewing appointments are available with Ben Burdett and his colleagues.

Take their advice on portraits of Chinese, Japanese, Nepalese and Thai noblemen and women; and their guidance on rare views of Tibet, the Middle East and the Americas.

Fortunately for Christmas shoppers, you don't have to be so intrepid to find the Atlas Studio Gallery. Hop on the London Underground to Old Street station, and stroll out through exit number four.

Louisa Clarke

`The Ends of the Earth' exhibition runs to 15 January, at the Atlas Studio Gallery, Atlas Books, 55-57 Tabernacle Street, LondonEC2 (call 0171-490 4540 for a detailed listing of the exhibits). Opening hours are Mon-Fri from 10am-5pm, and Sat from noon to 5pm.

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