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British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913

Captain Scott, R.N. CVO, February 1911, Herbert Ponting©

Scott and his men reached Antarctica on board the Terra Nova on 31 December 1910. The expedition had several aims that were scientific in nature, but the principal goal for Scott was to lead the first team to the South Pole.

Following his earlier polar experience on the Discovery expedition of 1901–4, Scott realised the importance of good photographic images for fund-raising and publicising the achievements of the expedition. Scott employed the photographer Herbert Ponting to accompany him. This was the first time a professional photographer had been included in an Antarctic expedition.

Ponting had previously worked in the United States and Asia. He had a great deal of experience, and during his time in Antarctica, he produced around 2,000 glass plate negatives as well as making films. Ponting also taught photography to Scott and other members of the team so that they could record their assault on the Pole.

In March 1912 Ponting left the Antarctic, according to previously-laid plans. After his return to Britain, Ponting exhibited his work and lectured widely about Scott, thus ensuring that his photographs became inextricably linked with Scott and the heroic age of Antarctic exploration.

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