"Around the World in 80 Days"

The Around the World in 80 Days photo show opening at the Chelyabinsk State Museum of Local History will represent 120 photographs of 27 authors from 13 countries (National Geographic and International Photography Award prize-winners among them). The photographs tell about the cities, countries and continents that the characters of Jules Verne’s adventure novel visited: Europe, India, Hon Kong, Japan, Pacific Ocean, the west of the US, New York. Works of modern photographers are supplemented with the late 19th century stereo photographs. 

The idea of the new book came to Verne one afternoon in a Paris café while reading a newspaper. First published in the French Le Temps in 1872, the novel told about an available and comfortable journey. Full of small details and topical subjects, Jules Verne’s text is as particular and publicistic as a newspaper article, nonetheless, it is still relevant even 150 years after it was written.  

Jules Verne foresaw globalization and mass tourism back in the 19th century. Although the photo show is based on Phileas Fogg’s route the photographs do not literally illustrate the novel giving images of countries and cultures that the travelers saw. For example, for an educated 19th century person typical European pictures were medieval castles of Germany, ‘foggy London’ or beautiful Italian landscapes. Indiawas associated with mysterious Hindu gods and the unchanged over the centuries way of life. The world’s oceans attracted travelers with the variety of life forms. Japanese culture was interesting because of its special attitude towards gardens and flowers. In North America is was Wild West and native Indian people. 

Today millions of people travel the planet longing to see the world of knights or Indians; mount Fuji or ablution ritual in the river Ganges. Photography makes its contribution to the creation of these iconic images while the aesthetics of many modern photographers’ works trace back to the traditions of the European Romanticism. This approach to travel photography is always popular. 


Exhibition location: Chelyabinsk State Museum of Local History (Chelyabinsk, Russia)
Exhibition period: May 18 - July 15, 2018


Copyright 2018 © Kwan Ka Wai Simon