Herbert Ponting

British, 1870–1935
Grotto in berg, Terra Nova in the distance. Taylor and Wright (interior), January 5, 1911
Platinum print made in 2009 from the original negative
31.50 x 22.83 in. (80 x 58 cm)
©Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, England

Herbert Ponting, the first polar photographer hired exclusively to take pictures, described this iconic image in his book, The Great White South (1921):

“A fringe of long icicles hung at the entrance to the grotto and passing under these I was in the most wonderful place imaginable, from the outside, the interior appeared quite white and colourless, but, once inside, it was a lovely symphony of blue and green. I made many photographs in this remarkable place—than which I secured none more beautiful the entire time I was in the South. By almost incredible luck the entrance to the cavern framed a fine view of the Terra Nova lying at the ice foot, a mile away.”

Ponting asked two crewmembers to pose within the iceberg to provide a sense of scale and human interest within the stark environment. A version of this photograph without people was illustrated in the official publication of the voyage, Robert Falcon Scott’s Last Expedition (1912).

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