100-year-old negatives show stranded Antarctic explorers

100-year-old negatives show stranded Antarctic explorers

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SALT LAKE CITY — After painstakingly restoring a stack of negatives stuck together, conservationists say they have restored a host of never-before-seen images from a historical expedition to Antarctica a century ago.

The images were pulled from the Antarctic darkroom of Herbert Ponting, a member of Captain Scott's 1910-1913 expedition. It was thought that the photographs were taken by Arnold Spencer Smith, a member of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party, who spent time in Scott's hut.

When conservationists got a hold of the negatives, the film frames were stuck together in a clump, with edges curled over and the cellulose nitrate warped. After careful work, conservationists were able to separate 14 images from the time when Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s team was stranded after their ship blew out to sea.

The images are mostly of the snowy desert’s landscape, though two shows Alexander Stevens aboard the Aurora ship.

The negatives were restored as part of the preservation of Captain Scott’s hut. The project includes the preservation of more than 10,000 items.

“It’s an exciting find and we are delighted to see them exposed after a century. It’s a testament to the dedication and precision of our conservation teams’ efforts to save Scott’s

Cape Evans hut,” said Nigel Watson, Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Executive Director.


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Celeste Tholen Rosenlof


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