Enzo Barracco is a fashion and portrait photographer by trade, but after becoming inspired by the travels of Sir Ernest, he spent one month crossing perilous oceans, frozen Antarctic landscape, and experiencing near misses with crumbling icebergs. We talk to Enzo about the inspiration for the trip, his incredible journey and the resulting book – The Noise of Ice.
Interview by: Aimee Hartley
Photography by Enzo Barracco
Enzo's book, The Noise of Ice is available for purchase here
What inspired you to embark on a photographic expedition into Antarctica?
I never initially had a burning desire to go to Antarctica, but when I read about Sir Ernest Shackleton for the first time – his bravery, grit and determination to never give up – I had an overwhelming need to explore the places he’d travelled to. To understand the nature of his journey and what he saw, first hand. He seemed to have this incredible capacity for leadership, but with a strong sense of humour, and the ability to adapt to reach his final destination, which I can relate to.
What are some of your favourite moments from the trip?
The entire expedition was a really unique experience, but there were two moments in particular that I will remember forever. The first was crossing Drake Passage in South Argentina, Tirerà del fuego to Antartica – one of the most dangerous oceans in the world. It was incredible to see the raw power and energy of the ocean. The second was an experience that inspired the name of my book, The Noise of Ice. A huge wall of ice collapsed just metres away from me. The noise was so powerful, that I’ll never forget it. It was an incredible lesson, or warning even, about how close I was to nature, perhaps too close. In that moment, I was reminded that nature deserves respect, and does not require an audience. I was in complete awe.
Making a book is an expedition in itself. What did you learn along the way?
Yes, this is very true. Making a book is a long and interesting journey, which is a challenge in itself. It requires, and deserves, so much constant hard work and attention, but I loved the process of making and writing it. It was like experiencing the expedition in a different way, reflecting on the memories. Because when you are taking photos, in that moment, your attention is so fully on capturing the shot you need, and finding solutions to problems very quickly. Writing however, makes you slow down. It allowed me to better remember and connect with my experiences in Antartica, and give them the attention they deserve. It was such a privilege to have the forward in the book written by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, too.
Do you have any handy tips for budding photographers on shooting in icy conditions?
When you take photographs in icy conditions, the main challenge is finding the correct exposure. You have to pay extra attention to the reflection of lights, and where you are positioned. It is better to lower your exposure and try to anticipate the action or movement around you as best you can. If you are in Antarctica, chances are you’ll be in a small boat taking pictures in high winds, which is an incredible feeling, but getting your equipment back in one piece to dry land can be tricky!