There's a veritable cottage industry now in sending people to Antarctica. If you're got about $30 grand you can go tromp around on the edge of the continent. Some, possibly many, of these tourists are moderately wealthy pudgy white dudes with $50 grand worth of camera equipment.
I'm pretty sure these guys grew up with National Geographic. The magazine had these magical pictures of far of places, like, say, Antarctica. It was crazy hard to get there in the 60s and 70s, it was a major undertaking. Indeed, it still is, note the price tag. The Southern Ocean is not to be fucked with and, frankly, it's only a matter of time before a boat filled with well to do older white guys goes down with all hands. They've had some close calls already.
Anyways. National Geo. They had these photos, and they were really pretty great. What made them great, though, was that we'd never seen these things. These huge masses of eerily lit ice. A million penguins massed on a pure white landscape (except for the penguin shit all over, so, frame carefully!) It was amazing, it was other-worldly. So these guys, now they've made their pile and handed a great wad of it over to Phase One, are now ready to, essentially, make copies of the photos of their youth.
Sure, they've all got their own vision. This bloke likes to shoot into the sun. This chap likes starfields in the background. Whatever. It's all cheap knockoff National Geographic stuff. The novelty is now gone, and with it a tremendous amount of the magic. Plus, they never manage to make it look cold. But, whatever. They're having a blast, enjoying the adventure of a lifetime. Good on 'em.
Then there's the workshop situation. At least one outfit offers photographic workshop trips for astronomical prices and I assume that, like rats, if you see one there are more.
The outfit I have in mind generously gave away a Free Trip to a deserving photographer. I don't know what process the portly older white men used to select the deserving young talent, but this was the result:
Now here's the wonderful thing. She went. She took some pictures. And they're pretty great. They're leagues better than a fake National Geo. stuff. It's tremendous vistas with a pretty girl in a flowing gown, small in the frame. Ok, it's not exactly Steichen, it's kind of twee, but it's quite decent. She's got a visual idea and she's working it pretty hard. I'm not sure I "get it" as such, but I at least feel there's something there to not get.
Good for Michele! And good for LuLa after all, she was deserving.