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The myth of Scott of the Antarctic Captain Robert Falcon Scott icon of fortitude and courage who perished with his fellow explorers on their return from the South Pole on March 29th 1912 is an enduring one elevated dismantled and restored during the turbulence of the succeeding century Until now the legend of the doomed Terra Nova expedition has been constructed out of Scott's own diaries and those of his companions the sketches of 'Uncle Bill' Wilson and the celebrated photographs of Herbert Ponting Yet for the final fateful months of their journey the systematic imaging of this extraordinary scientific endeavor was left to Scott himself trained by Ponting In the face of extreme climactic conditions and technical challenges at the dawn of photography Scott achieved an iconic series of images; breathtaking polar panoramas geographical and geological formations and action photographs of the explorers and their animals remarkable for their technical mastery as well as for their poignancy Lost fought over neglected and finally resurrected Scott's final photographs are here collected accurately attributed and catalogued for the first time a new dimension to the last great expedition of the Heroic Age and a humbling testament to the men whose graves still lie unmarked in the vastness of the Great Alone


10 thoughts on “The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott

  1. says:

    A beautiful book Not swamped with unnecessary information after all those who are interested in Scott's expedition will have the relevant books already but these images are for the most part heartbreaking Huge double page photographs of ponies and dogs and the landscape Men striving to haul a huge sledge The small intimacies of life mending a sledge chasing a pony sketching a glacier adjusting footwear The 'comments' are kept to the bare minimum and thus are all the poignant 'Many of the men in this image would return but not all None of the ponies would within a few days they would be shot'


  2. says:

    Fantastic Really fantastic I wasn't sure what to expect from this one before I opened it up but I suppose I assumed that the Unseen Images from the Legendary Antarctic Expedition would be accompanied by the usual retelling of Scott's last expedition and that there wouldn't really be much new to be learned from it though I anticipated the photographs would be beautiful and haunting and well really interesting Which they are But what I really love possibly even than the images themselves is the way that Wilson shows a different side of Scott's story focusing on the use of photography at the time and the way Scott really kind of pioneered the use of it for scientific purposes in Antarctica There's a narrative here showing Scott's progression as a photographer over the course of the expedition under Herbert Ponting's tutelage and Wilson does an excellent job of describing the significance of the pictures gathered here He also discusses the various changes in Scott's reputation over the last 100 years which is something I've always found really fascinating And the presentation is gorgeous Most definitely highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of Antarctic exploration or photography well worth every penny and certainly a book I'll come back to again and again


  3. says:

    Some gorgeously haunting photographs even the one where Scott got his own shadow in the shot is beautiful in its way a remnant of a man who you have to call remarkable whatever your opinion of his endeavour and his execution thereof Interesting detail with them too and accompanying maps and so on


  4. says:

    The British Discovery Expedition of 1911 1913 to Antarctica has been clouded by myths and misinformation for than a century The expedition was intended to be mostly scientific but once the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen decided to try for the South Pole at the same time a race for the pole was on Robert Falcon Scott famed British explorer knew that the stakes were now exponentially high If he lost the race for the pole no one would remember or care about any scientific accomplishments his group might makeScott was right but the fallout was worse than he could have imagined His failure to reach the pole first and his death on the way back allowed for a number of misleading or self serving narratives Scott was a bungler; he was the epitome of the stoic Edwardian hero; the expedition was only about the pole As this book amply demonstrates science was foremost on Scott's mind While Amundsen cared only about the pole Scott's team was consistently performing scientific tasks as they headed towards the pole Surely they hoped to be first but there would be no shortcuts to get there One area in which the Discovery Expedition made enormous contributions to human understanding of the Antarctic was in the use of the nascent field of photography Led by Herbert Ponting who in turn taught Scott and other team members the expedition's haunting images gave the public a true understanding of the travails beauty and danger of polar explorationUntil the early 2000s most of the photography from the expedition was either missing or misidentified This book corrects this great misfortune Scott as it turns out was a very good photograper who took Ponting's lessons and amply demonstrated a keen eye for composition and techniue This book also makes an excellent companion to Apsley Cherry Gerrard's eyewitness account of the expedition otherwise known as The Worst Journey in the World The maps and photographs provide both welcome and appropriate context in illustrating the awesome scope of the Expedition's undertaking No one who is interested in polar exploration should be without this book


  5. says:

    The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott by David M Wilson while based on the recent rediscovery of photographs taken during Robert Scott's ill fated Antarctic expedition of 1910 1913 is really a meditation on reputation and remembranceI am just going outside and may be some time These words uttered by expedition member Lawrence Oates before he sacrificed himself to save his companions on the trek back from the pole have always chilled me We know of this only because Scott wrote about the incident in his diary Of course Oates' sacrifice came to naught; Scott and his companions died just eleven miles short of the depot that could have saved their lives From one point of view this is all of piece Scott failed to reach the pole before Amundsen; unlike Shackleton he failed to keep his companions alive; and failed to keep himself alive Racing to the South Pole may be the ultimate boy's own adventure but Scott bungled itOr did he? For that matter what was he racing towards? Wilson argues that there was no race at least not one that Scott cared about The polar expeditions of the 19th and early 20th centuries were undertaken for a variety of motives with a tension between exploration ua adventure and exploration for scientific purposes Scott conceived of his expedition as a scientific one; while it may have been necessary for fundraising and publicity to promote a goal of reaching the pole first and planting the King's flag on it Scott was interested in the geographic and scientific discoveries that the trip could revealTo that end Scott hired Herbert Ponting as expedition photographer and gave him a free hand to euip the expedition with all of the photographic euipment necessary for scientific purposes Ponting was perhaps one of Scott's best hires; not only did he innovate techniues for using very awkward photographic euipment under harsh conditions to produce gorgeous results he trained Scott and other expedition members to be passable polar photographers as well However as Ponting was not up to the rigors of the run to the Pole in 1912 he returned home to catalog the photographs and await Scott's return to mount an exhibitionBy the time Ponting reached England Scott was already dead Ponting's own plans came to naught The absence of Scott wrangling over the rights to the photographs and the advent of World War I served to bury Ponting's photographs as well as the ones taken by Scott himself Besides why would the martyr's photographs be of interest than the martyr himself? By the latter part of the 20th century Scott's reputation had fallen under attack Why would a bungler's pics be of any interest? Moreover where was a competent archivist to be found? NowhereReality Rating B It perhaps was not until now with recent efforts to rehabilitate or at least re vision Scott's reputation that there was fertile ground for the rediscovery of these photographs Wilson tells a tale that is bittersweet on many levels and places Scott and his final expedition in the center of some important dichotomies The book is also visually stunningCaveat My review copy of this book was a PDF from NetGalley As it turned out this is not a book that works well on current ebook readers Attempting to read it on my iPad was a rather frustrating experience and until Apple comes out with the iCoffeeTable or unless you have a very large monitor if you buy this book get it in print


  6. says:

    The Terra Nova expedition 1910 1913 was Captain Robert F Scott's second and final fatal attempt at the South Pole This time around he brought along professional photographer Herbert Ponting to stay at the base camp and teach Scott and several others how to take and develop photographs in the harsh Antarctic environment so that the group could document their scientific endeavors Not all of Scott's photographs survived but Wilson gathers up as many as he can and does a solid job of placing them in contextDavid Wilson is the great nephew of Edward A Wilson a doctor and artist and the expedition's chief of scientific staff Dr Wilson died in 1912 on the return from the pole and the author is perhaps not all that objective about Scott One might argue he has a personal stake in Scott being a visionary a forward thinker—as Wilson puts it—rather than a traditional one and the last of the great Victorian explorers with his man hauled sledges and dogged pursuit of science in the face of certain death The author's defensive of Scott and his choices and gets downright bitchy about Shackleton at one point But Scott's defenders often do so he's not exactly alone in that I've seen some nasty things said about Amundsen too as many of Scott's fans believe Amundsen stole the pole from him bygetting there fasterSo while the scholarship is uestionable and I caught at least one factual error the photos are interesting and they're carefully identified and cross referenced The paper's thick and glossy and the black and white photographs look beautiful Each photo has a caption to identify or guess at landmarks and figures with a catalogue number and date if knownThis is a large book almost a foot suare It shows the photos to their best advantage but the text is in two columns per page and is sometimes split across several pages with full page photographs in between making it difficult to read There's no index for the text but there is a picture index with thumbnails and captions and relevant page numbers The text makes good use of end notes with citations for every uote and when photographs are referenced in the text the author gives a page number where you can find the photo I was really impressed with how well the photographs are linked to the text There was never a moment where I thought to myself angrily What picture is he talking about? because without fail Wilson points the reader right to itWhile Wilson's prose is a bit melodramatic and potentially biased this is a remarkable visual record of the expedition's day to day life at Cape Evans and the camps between it and the pole as well as the uniue challenge of taking photographs in an environment where you get instant frostbite if you take off your gloves and if you accidentally touch your metal camera with your bare skin that part of you now belongs to the camera Knowing what these men went through to take these photographs makes them all the remarkable and Wilson encourages the reader to pick up a copy of Scott's diary often published as Scott's Last Expedition as a companion to this book; he uotes from it freuently to provide context for the photographs


  7. says:

    Nearly a century after his death during the ill fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole Captain Robert Falcon Scott remains a figure of controversy Though initially lionized Scott was later criticized by historians for a lack of preparation and foresight Now David M Wilson Edward Wilson's Nature Notebooks the great nephew of an expedition member uses Scott's own recovered photographs to recount the deadly journeyScott who had been trained in photography by the expedition's official cameraman captured eerily beautiful images of the alien Antarctic panorama Ponies struggle through crusted snow while small supply camps stand alone against the bright frosty horizon Wilson's accompanying text uses the words of Scott and his crew to recreate the choices and hardships that led them to their doom More than an adventure story The Lost Photographs is an artifact from the dawn of photography as art suitable for historians and photography enthusiasts alikeThis review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness Readers Edition Sign up for this free and awesome newsletter at for the latest news and reviews This review refers to an ARC provided by Shelf Awareness


  8. says:

    Not a lot of new information in here for anyone who's familiar with Antarctic exploration though there are some interesting notes about what happened in later years to some members of the expedition particularly Ponting The main reason to check this out is the photos which really help the reader understand what the conditions were like I think the most notable pictures are several photos of a group man hauling a sledge up the Beard Glacier; the photos demonstrate how awful and difficult man hauling really was Another favorite is a photo of Dr Wilson sketching a line of mountains on the Beard with a copy of his actual sketch juxtaposed on the page for reference The photo shows how amazingly accurate his sketches were Side note the book's author is Wilson's great nephewDefinitely worth leafing through for anyone interested in Scott's expedition but if you're looking for details about the expedition there are much better books out there I recommend The Last Place on Earth Scott and Amundsen's Race to the South Pole


  9. says:

    This beautiful book compiles photos of Scott's ill fated journey to the South Pole in 1912 The expedition photographer Herbert Ponting did not accompany Scott's team to the pole so Ponting taught Scott to use his camera Previous expeditions had relied on artists to draw landscapes and geological features Scott was not an expert photographer but captured details of the journey that bring the people and ponies to life The photos of men hauling sledges through deep snow and ice show how incredibly difficult the conditions were When I bought this book I was already reading Apsley Cherry Garrard's 'The worst journey in the world' and found the two to be excellent companions 'The lost photographs of Captain Scott' includes several maps which help with understanding Cherry Garrard's account and Cherry Garrard's book describes some events such as the desperate sledge hauling that Scott captured in photos


  10. says:

    Robert F Scott was as poor a photographer as he was an expedition leader Nevertheless his work in both fields remains of not inconsiderable historical value and great interest to Antarctic enthusiasts This new book publishes previously unknown photographic plates taken by Scott during theTerra Nova Expedition 1910 1912 on which he died The coffee table book has a bad reputation among genuine students if polar history but I found this one to be an exception to the rule Several good essays and the unusual provenance of the photographs make for a well done illustrated account of the expedition A bit pricey but truly uniue