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The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott.
Unseen Images from the Legendary Antarctic Expedition.
By David M. Wilson.
Little, Brown & Company, Boston, 2011. 192 pp., illustrated throughout, 10½
Selected as one of the
Best Books of 2011
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.
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