Week 46 - 2015

Ice-cold vision

Herbert Georg Ponting (1871–1935), A grotto in an iceberg, 1911. Preus museum's collection. 

Ice-cold vision

Herbert Ponting (1870-1935) was the photographer who followed Robert Scott's tragic expedition to the South Pole. Ponting was not present on the actual journey to the Pole itself but stayed at the base set up at Cape Evans in 1911. Thus he was able to return home to England with photographs of the expedition and the men who died there in 1912.


This photograph is an atmospheric look at some of the men and the Terra Nova, the ship that brought Scott and his party to the Antarctic. It was one of the most popular pictures after the expedition. We see how beautiful and deadly the ice can be. The cave is like the eye of a frozen giant spying on the explorers. This frozen giant would be their killer.


Ponting asked two of the crew, Taylor and Wright, to pose by the entrance of the cave. Those two small figures could give a sense of relative sizes and let us take part in their own experience of the violent circumstances.