Captain Robert Falcon Scott began an expedition to the South Pole in 1910. In an age of unprecedented arctic adventure, Captain Scott’s expedition is surrounded by myth and mystery. None of the participants returned home.
Scott’s diaries and photographs were thought lost for years. Now they have been collected and attributed by David M. Wilson and finally published on the centenary anniversary of the ill-fated expedition. Wilson’s great-uncle was a member of the Scott’s crew, and Wilson himself leads many of the events surrounding the centenary anniversary celebration.
The story behind the expedition and excerpts from Scott’s journals are no doubt fascinating, but the magic of this book lies in Scott’s photos, along with those by photographer Herbert Ponting. Scott understood the value of documenting his work, so he put together a unique imaging program and enlisted Ponting’s services. Ponting took many celebrated photos of the early stages of the expedition while also training Scott in photography. Scott eventually took over the photographic reins as the expedition move further along.
What remains of their efforts is a collection of incredible photographs of beautiful, barren landscapes and the rugged men who ultimately failed to cross those lands. The clarity of the images is unreal given the age of the photos and the equipment available at the time.
One photograph demonstrates the poignancy of the adventure as Scott captured six of his men with their horses and sleds crossing a barren landscape. Everything is white except the black outlines of the men and animals. They are trudging in a single line, off into white.
There are many more visually dazzling photographs of the South Pole, but few tell as compelling a story of the risks and rewards of polar exploration.