The photographs are captioned thus: The five at the South Pole; Petty Officer Evans; Capt. Scott writing his diary; Capt. Scott's last birthday dinner; Lieut. Bowers; Capt. Oates; Dr Wilson; The "Terra Nova" at the ice foot.
Led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, the British Antarctic Expedition (1910-13) was one of the earliest and most important polar exploration missions. The expedition's photographer, Herbert Ponting, spent more than a year with Captain Scott and his men at Cape Evans and made over 1,700 glass plate negatives during the expedition. Bowers was trained by Ponting, and therefore took charge of photography during the trek to the South Pole. He captured the tragic image of Oates, Scott, Wilson, Evans and himself at the South Pole, crushed after finding out that Roald Amundsen beat them to it. "The most painful photograph.. One can easily cry over its significance. You can tell by looking at the expression on each man's face that they were defeated: all were suffering from malnutrition, scurvy and frostbite. The three in the back can barely stand. It must have required courage to take this photograph. Bowers pulled the cord with his right hand to take the picture. They did their best to pose with their sledge flags and Union Jack... If they had been the first to the Pole they would have had the strength to survive." (Herbert G. Ponting, The Great White South, New York, 1922).
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