Sunday :: Mar 8, 2009

freeze frame

by Christina Hulbe

Exploration of the Antarctic is a relatively young endeavor. The great Pacific explorer Ui-te-Rangiora is understood to have encountered sea ice and icebergs around the year 650 but it is not clear exactly where he was. The first reported sighting of the continent was not made until 1820 (by Bellingshausen) and the first traverses inland from the coast did not begin until the turn of the 20th Century. As a result of the late start, much of the history of Antarctic exploration has been captured on photographic negatives.

Last week, Scott Polar Research Center in the UK launched Freeze Frame, an online digital archive of its image collection spanning 1845 to 1960. It's really quite remarkable.

Below are links to a few images made by Herbert Ponting during Scott's 1910 to 1913 Terra Nova Expedition but do go visit the site if you are into in this sort of thing. The resources pages are full of interesting material as well.

A 1911 portrait of Birdie Bowers, Apsley Cherry-Garrard and Dr. Edward Wilson made as the trio were about to start a winter expedition to Cape Crozier. It went downhill from there.

A striking photograph of Cecil Meares and Lawrence Oates ("I am just going outside and may be some time") in the base camp stable.

Ponting himself, capturing moving images as the Tera Nova sails through pack ice in December 1910.

Photographs are not yet available from the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The plates Frank Hurley managed to save on that expedition include some of my favorite Antarctic photographs. This is perhaps my favorite (packaged at that link as part of a Kodak website).

Christina Hulbe :: 4:30 PM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!