Let's Explore Perseverance with Frits Meyst
“Men Wanted for Dangerous Expedition: Low Wages for Long Hours of Arduous Labour under Brutal Conditions; Months of Continual Darkness and Extreme Cold; Great Risk to Life and Limb from Disease, Accidents and Other Hazards; Small Chance of Fame in Case of Success.”
With this advertisement, British explorer Ernest Shackleton mustered his crew in 1914. More than a century later Frits Meyst boarded a historic triple masted Tall ship for an adventurous sailing expedition to Antarctica.
The ship moans as wave after wave hits the deck. The wind is raging through the rigging at 60 knots and I clutch the helm. 60 knots….or wind speed 11! In the Netherlands this is called “code red” and the roof tiles get blown from the rooftops. In the Drake Passage, however, we call this nice sailing weather. I’m feeling proud while I’m holding the wooden helm of the Dutch Tall Ship “Europa”, a sailing ship with three masts and a whopping 24 sails. Today only a few sails are set but still, we are cutting across the swirling ocean at a top speed of 10 knots.
Frits Meyst graduated in 1992 from the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague as a documentary photographer. His career in freelance photojournalism brought him to some of the world’s hotspots. His images are published in major international newspapers and magazines. Apart from doing commissioned work for Dutch newspapers and magazines, he has also been on assignment for Time, Newsweek, New York Times, Sunday Telegraph, the Guardian, Stern, and Paris Match.
Several of Meysts’ reportages were crowned with Dutch awards and an honourable mention in the World Press Photo. The crown on his work is the ‘Zilveren Camera’ Silver Camera Award for the best press photo of the year 1991, covering the exodus of Iraqi Kurds after the war in Iraq. Coincidence brought Meyst back to the same region in 2003 to witness the ousting of Saddam Hussein. From the war in Yugoslavia, via the tribal clashes in the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq, through the riots in Indonesia, to the earthquake in Turkey, Meyst covered massive human suffering.
After more than twelve years as a freelance photojournalist working amidst sorrow and human strife, Frits Meyst decided that he needed a different challenge, a challenge that would bring him instead, to some of the world’s most beautiful places.
“Trekking, climbing mountains, paragliding, sea kayaking and canyoning, makes me explore my limits. I want to know what my physical and mental limits are. Through my outdoor adventures, I realize the strength of nature and that makes me humble. So, when I can conquer a mountain, surviving adverse weather conditions and improvising with daily living, I feel very much alive.” says Meyst.