Don’t get too puffed up, Marcus, but… you’ve been framed

With the mask and goggles that protect him from the daily risk of an explosion – to say nothing of his vast balloon – Marcus Henry looks like a desert wanderer who’s been blown badly off course.

But now it’s his ego that’s in danger of being over-inflated.

His picture has earned a temporary place in one of the world’s most prestigious photographic exhibitions, at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Picture by Jon Tonks, used with permissionClick the pic to see a larger image

Jon Tonks’s picture of him was one of just 60 chosen from more than 4,000 images submitted for the annual Taylor Wessing portrait exhibition, which runs until 22 February 2015.

The picture also appeared at the top of page three of the Independent newspaper’s Saturday magazine.

In a short video on Jon’s website, Marcus and weather station colleagues Garry and Marvin explain how they release a hydrogen-filled balloon into the sky every day to measure atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speed.

The clothing they wear helps prevent static electricity making sparks when they pick up the balloon, and igniting the very highly flammable hydrogen inside it.

Jon visited St Helena as part of his Empire project, in which he travelled to several of Britain’s most remote overseas territories (and Gibraltar). A picture of young men on Tristan da Cunha was included in the Taylor Wessing exhibition in 2012.

Photographs from his South Atlantic travels also appeared in the Observer and Sunday Times magazines.

He said he was really pleased to be selected for the Taylor Wessing exhibition a second time.

“I never expected Marcus to get in,” he said, “but I’ve always enjoyed the story behind his job on St Helena and thought it was worth go.”

Now – has anyone seen Marcus’s camel? It must have floated off on the wind.

Click to watch: The St Helena Balloon Men 

See also: 
Raymond and Cynthia achieve a uniform kind of fame
‘Nationettes’ star in Sunday Times Magazine
The Taylor Wessing Prize

 

 

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