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Le Grand Blanc –Photographs 1907-1916


The conquest of Antarctica counts many of the most extraordinary tales of courage and daring ever told. This exhibition will concentrate on the exploits of two of the most charismatic and legendary expedition leaders, Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Henry Shackleton, through the photographs of the first professional photographers in Antarctica who accompanied them, Herbert George Ponting and James Francis ‘Frank’ Hurley.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries explorers and navigators relied on the work of professional and amateur artists to document the discoveries and the sights they encountered. In the second half of the 19th century photography made its appearance. But is was a difficult medium and it wasn’t until 1900 with the appearance of the Kodak Brownie that photography became accessible to a larger number of practitioners. The books written by Scott (1901-1904) and Shackleton (1907-1909) about their early expeditions were heavily illustrated with the snapshots taken by expedition members.
Understanding the need to leave an enduring record of his expeditions, Scott met and appointed an experienced photographer and cinematographer, Herbert George Ponting, as camera artist of the Terra Nova expedition which left Lyttleton New Zealand for the Great Unknown on November 29, 1910. By this time, Ponting had twice travelled around the world as a rancher, a miner and a war correspondent. He had photographed extensively in India and Japan. His Antarctic work would be a triumph, elegant studies of the icy beauty and pristine stillness of Antarctica, patient wildlife shots, candid snaps of camp life and, most memorably, portraits of the exhausted men.

Until 11 december 2010
L’Atelier d’Artistes
74, rue de Seine
75006 Paris

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