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Herbert George Ponting (1870–1935)

Young ladies by a pond, Japan (1907)

 from the book In Lotus Land (1910)

Herbert Ponting Mount Fuji

This photograph is the opening image of Ponting’s ‘Japanese Studies’
collotyped by K. Ogawa F.R.P.S. in Tokyo in 1906.

It is accompanied by a quote from a Wordsworth poem:
‘A distant mountain’s head, Strewn with snow smooth as the
sky can shed, Shines like another sun.’


The Great wall of China (1907)

Ponting expanded his photographs of Japan into a 1910 book, In Lotus-land Japan. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS). His flair for journalism and ability to shape his photographic illustrations into a narrative led to his being signed as expedition photographer aboard the Terra Nova, the first time a professional photographer was included on an Antarctic expedition.
As a member of the shore party in early 1911, Ponting helped set up the Terra Nova Expedition's Antarctic winter camp at Cape Evans, Ross Island. The camp included a tiny photographic darkroom. Although the expedition came more than 20 years after the invention of photographic film, Ponting preferred high-quality images taken on glass plates.

Ponting was one of the first men to use a portable movie camera in Antarctica. The primitive device, called a cinematograph, could take short video sequences. Ponting also brought some autochrome plates to Antarctica and took some of the first known color still photographs there 

Herbert Ponting photograph of icebergs from Scott's last expedition  (1910)


Herbert George Ponting, Mt Erebus, Antarctica,  1911

Camp near Erebus, by Herbert George Ponting, 1911.

Members of the British Antarctic (“Terra Nova”) Expedition
unpacking provisions and getting their camp in order, in January 1911.

Ponting, Herbert George
The Terra Nova at the ice-foot, Cape Evans. 1911

The great white South; being an account of experiences
with Captain Scott's South pole expedition and of the nature life of the Antarctic

Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912). Carbon print 35.6 x 45.7 cm 

The Terra Nova. In the pack - a lead opening up.
December 1910


Royal Geographic Societ:
Ponting Portfolio:

Terra Nova Expedition




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