Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Frozen film

As the 52 scientists, tourists, and journalists attempting to retrace the steps of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson (1882-1958) await rescue, word has surfaced of a new discovery in the Antarctic. In one of the many supply depots that British explorer Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912) established for his doomed expedition to the South Pole, conservators from the Antarctic Heritage Trust (NZ) discovered a small box of 22 exposed photographic negatives, frozen in a solid block of ice (IMAGE HERE). After meticulous processing and restoration in Wellington, the images were printed (EXAMPLE ABOVE). Although the identity of the photographer remains anonymous, the negatives are believed to have been left by the next team to make use of the hut, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition led to safety after near-disaster by Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922). AHT executive director Nigel Watson says of the never-before-seen images, "It's the first example that I'm aware of, of undeveloped negatives from a century ago from the Antarctic heroic era."

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