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Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 - Canvassed | Art & culture

Jack London photo exhibit aboard the Star of India

A look at the literary legend's work behind a camera

By Melanie Ehrenkranz

Known for his gripping novels like Call of the Wild and White Fang, Jack London is typically tied to words. But insight into the mind of the literary legend doesn't stop at pen and paper. From behind the lens of his George Eastman Kodak, London documented important historical moments and his adventures at sea.

Through Dec. 3, 2012, the Maritime Museum is showing the Jack London Photography Exhibit on the Star of India with more than 50 of London's photographs on display, thanks to contributions from the Huntington Library and California State Parks. Black-and-white images line the walls in the hull of the historic ship, tracing London’s Pacific voyage in the early 1900s.

It seems only appropriate that an exhibit focused heavily on London’s cruise of the Snark (1907-1908) would be shown on a ship. Photographs London behind the camera kick off the exhibition, with several images of London and his wife Charmian on the ship prior to its departure from San Francisco Bay.

Island hopping the South Sea, rounding Cape Horn and traveling to Korea and Northern California allowed London to capture the noteworthy accounts of the past that viewers can see while winding through the unique floating gallery space. These images illustrate London’s active role as not only a writer, but also a war correspondent and a photojournalist.

Ruins from the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake, leper nurses in Hawaii and a young homeless girl in Seoul, Korea, during the Russo-Japanese War are just a few of the jarring images that London captured.  

 
 
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