Ponting, Herbert George

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Epithet: Antarctic photographer

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001035.0x0000c4

Official photographer to the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913.

From the description of Papers [manuscript]. (Libraries Australia). WorldCat record id: 225764795

Herbert George Ponting was born in 1870. He entered banking at the age of eighteen, but left to run a fruit ranch in California. In 1900, he began to cultivate photography and after winning several photographic contests was hired by a stereopticon company to produce views for their machines. He travelled widely in the Far East, South-East Asia and Europe and was a pioneer in the use of the camera as a medium of art rather than a mere recorder of events and persons.

By 1910, Ponting was recognised internationally as a popular photographer and travel writer. He was selected for the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), as camera artist, spending a year in the Antarctic. The technical difficulties of photography in the Antarctic were formidable but Ponting overcame these problems by his technical mastery. He photographed the behaviour of seals and other mammals and birds, behaviour that had previously been a matter of speculation, producing many valuable scientific records. His film of the expedition 90° South remains a classic of polar photography and his work in the Antarctic greatly enhanced his reputation.

After his year in Antarctica, he produced various versions of the film and undertook a number of unsuccessful business enterprises. He was internationally recognised for his work, honours included the Polar Medal, the Royal Geographical Society Medal and a medal from the Emperor of Japan. He died in 1935.

From the guide to the Herbert Ponting collection, 1871 - 1935, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Ponting, Herbert, 1870-1935. Papers [manuscript]. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Apsley Cherry-Garrard collection, 1910-1950 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Harry Arnold collection, [1969] Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Vol. XVI ff.51. 1911includes:f. 4 Art. Illuminations and Drawings ENGLISH: Dr E. A. Wilson; pastel drawing of man manhandling sledges over bank on Capt. R. F. Scott's expedition,: 1911.f. 5 Political and Satirical Poems: `Life in the Antarctic or..., 1911 British Library
referencedIn [Ponting, H. G. : photography related ephemera material collected by the National Library of Australia]. Libraries Australia
referencedIn British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913, 1885-1913 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf SCOTT DIARIES. Vol. XIX (ff. 4). Photographs of members of the Polar party by Henry Robertson Bowers; 1911-1912., 1911-1912 British Library
referencedIn Ponting Herbert, 1881-. Reminiscences of Herbert Ponting : oral history, 1951. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf British Antarctic Expedition (1910-1913). Field photographs, 1910-1913. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Herbert Ponting collection, 1871 - 1935 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn T A Mcleroth collection, 1935 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Ponting, Herbert. Ponting, Herbert : [photography bio file]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf MACMILLAN ARCHIVE. Vol. CDXXXVI. Correspondence with: 1. Alfred R. Wallace; 1875-1913. 2. Herbert G. Ponting; 1909-1924.Herbert George Ponting, Antarctic photographer: Correspondence with Macmillan and Co.: 1909-1924.Alfred Russel Wallace, naturalist..., 1875-1924 British Library
creatorOf Herbert Ponting collection, 1871 - 1935 Scott Polar Research Institute
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith 90° south (Motion picture : 1912) corporateBody
associatedWith Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard person
associatedWith British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913. corporateBody
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith Harry John Philip Arnold person
associatedWith Herbert George Ponting person
associatedWith Ponting Herbert, 1881- person
associatedWith Scott Robert Falcon 1868-1912 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Mount Erebus, Antarctica


Birth 1870-03-21

Death 1935-02-07




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