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About Me...

My name is Gary and I am the creator of SNS Challenger. I have a background in Digital Photography and I am a lecturer of Visual Communications. I am from Portsmouth in England. I lived in Osaka between 2003 and 2007; Tokyo between 2007 and 2010; and Ahmedabad, India since 2011. I am also a PhD candidate in Information Environments at London College of Communication, which this project is helping me earn.


I started this project in 2009 and since then, a number of people have joined and added their pictures. But I guess the main question is "why?"


I have been researching the photographs of the Victorian British ship HMS Challenger since 2006. In 2007, I rephotographed some locations in and the experience changed my work as a photographer forever. After finishing my MA in Digital Arts, I wanted to revisit every location where HMS Challenger went; all 50 destinations!


The problem was I didn't have the money to travel or my own boat in which to replicate the voyage, so I thought "how can I do this?". The internet provided the solution in the form of social network sites, so I designed my own.


The internet voyage of SNS Challenger was launched on December 21st 2009 (the anniversary of HMS Challenger leaving England). My aim is to work together to rephotograph all the locations. In the process, I hope to help people by giving them a platform to learn and share more about their landscape, photography and history.


Anyone who likes pictures, photography, history, cameras, or just their own landscape can join. It is free and open to everyone.


I hope to see you "on board"











Latest Activity

GaryMcLeod left a comment for Iris Green
"Welcome Iris, Thank you for joining our project. Please let me know if you have any questions about it. I am happy to help :) Gary"
May 31, 2012
GaryMcLeod left a comment for Ayaka Uchino
"Hi Ayako! Thanks for joining our project. Let me know if you have any questions :)"
Apr 29, 2012
GaryMcLeod left a comment for Cathleen Cawood
"Welcome aboard Cathleen! I hope you like our project. If you have any questions, do let me know :)"
Apr 29, 2012
Motoko Torii commented on GaryMcLeod's photo
Apr 27, 2012
GaryMcLeod commented on GaryMcLeod's photo


"I agree that it is Kinkakuji although there was once a suggestion it could have been Ginkakuji. It's actually listed under Kobe because that is where the ship docked. "
Apr 25, 2012

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GaryMcLeod's Photos

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GaryMcLeod's Blog

Getting back into it

Posted on May 23, 2011 at 5:01am 0 Comments

The stress of managing the ship had previously been taking its toll on my own photographs but not any more. In the last few weeks, I have rediscovered what it is like to make pictures as an artist/photographer and I thought I would add a few examples here in the hope it might inspire someone or brighten someone's day.


The images are an evolution of my early Challenger work and continue to employ the same type of lens as used by the Challenger photographers. However, these…


Thinking about photo trials

Posted on December 19, 2010 at 5:46am 5 Comments

I am currently contemplating some project briefs. These are intended to give participants some structure if they choose to be creatively inspired by the experience of re-phtographing the locations. In writing these project briefs, I am forced to reflect upon my own experiences of being inspired by HMS Challenger. I had already started to use my Hybrid camera by the time I had re-photograph the locations, so I was therefore already involved with looking through an old eye with a modern brain.…


"Photographer's Block"

Posted on December 14, 2010 at 7:00am 1 Comment

Over recent weeks, I have increasingly felt that the "Sailing Log" only touches upon my personal feelings and thoughts towards the project and my role within it. When I first started out, I was very open about my thinking processes, but over time, this has been replaced with ship activity and…


Re-visiting the retaken photographs of Kobe...

Posted on May 19, 2010 at 10:08am 1 Comment

The original image taken in 1865

3 years ago, I visited various locations in Japan between the months of April and June to re-photograph the Challenger’s photographs. Since that time, despite living in Tokyo, I have not been back to any of them. May 8th 2010 saw me return to Kobe and specifically to the waterfalls at Nunobiki. The largest of the two… Continue

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At 11:29am on April 17, 2012, Apis Cerana japonica said…

Hello Gary

Thanks for some information about your project.
Now I'm glancing some photos of Japan.
Superimposing past and current spaces by photos, it is very interesting attempt!

To make clear my understanding, please let me ask somethings about your project.

Have those pictures on the website (especially about Japan) already been found the locations and finished image processing works? Or still waiting for someone's new works?
(I think you've already found most of places and made composite photographs...)

If I could get some other photos around Tokyo or Yokohama (if those pictures still remain), perhaps I can visit some places. Can you suggest me how to obtain them? ... But I wonder if my questions are out of your project or not...

At 3:36pm on April 16, 2012, Ricard Martinez said…

Hi, Gary,

I am very glad you liked our projects. We are very happy to work together with Mark Klett. He is not only a very good photographer, but also a good person. And, of course his projects developed the structural methodology involved in rephotography.

I dont mind, but I thank you to find interesting our projects to write about them in your PhD thesis.

I also hope we can stay in touch. Here you have also my email adress.

I just posted your project in our FB page.

All the best


At 4:43am on April 16, 2012, Ricard Martinez said…

Hi, Gary,

I found this project very interesting. By both, the project itself and the way to do it through the social net. 

I take part of a group into rephotography. We have done so far some projects and public installations:

Recently I have co-curated an exhibition in Barcelona on this subject:

And here you have the virtual part of this exhibition:

I found your project on the Internet. I wanted to log in to follow it, I hope you don't mind if I don't take a part of it, because for me it difficult to reach the destinations of the HMS Challenger.

Anyway, I want to help spread your project.


Ricard Martinez

At 9:09am on November 7, 2011, Kathy Ponce said…
Hi Gary!  This is perfect. :)  Thanks!  I'll help spread the word.
At 7:11am on November 4, 2011, Kathy Ponce said…
By next week I guess? :)
At 12:59am on November 4, 2011, Kathy Ponce said…
That's quite interesting! :)  Okay I will make sure to let you know when I go back.
At 3:04pm on November 3, 2011, Kathy Ponce said…

That's interesting!  I didn't realize that repeat photography has become a genre in itself.  The software of MIT sounds interesting.  I'm looking forward to reading about what you hope to achieve by describing the approaches.  By the way, what literature are you reviewing?  The diaries?  

I have not been able to go back to the canal since last year.  If I go, is there anything I be exploring? 

At 8:41am on November 3, 2011, Kathy Ponce said…
What have you been able to review so far?  What are your findings?  It would be interesting to see what you have written so that maybe the crew can resonate with the experience or take part in it somehow. :)
At 12:12am on November 3, 2011, Kathy Ponce said…
Hi Gary! Good to be back and I miss the discussion on board.  Work has been taking it's toll but I suppose the winds have changed and it looks like I might be able to find some opportunity to help promote the project.  Have you been able to do exhibits already?
At 8:45am on June 2, 2011, Tony Dawson said…

Hi Gary


The 1874 photos I'd like to see at higher resolution are 640 (46447_big), 647 (46454_big) and 648 (46455_big). I need to be able to see more detail of the background if I'm to determine the locations.


I'll post a blog on Commodore Lambert and the time spent by HMS Challenger on the Australia Station in the years before the survey voyage


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With any collaborative project, there are always terms and conditions. Please take some time to read these. A lot of time was spent writing them. If there is anything you are unsure about, please email me and we can talk about it :)

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