Ponting in the darkroom developing photos
Ponting in the darkroom

Ever since Scott took Herbert Ponting, and Mawson and then Shackleton took Frank Hurley on their expeditions, photography has become established as the Antarctic art-form. The early black and white images are as striking now as they were then.

  • Ask students to select one of the early photographs from the one of the websites below and write a story about it.
  • Appoint a couple of students as the official photographers of your school. Their assignment will be to take a series of photographs of the school, selecting and composing each photograph so that it will convey something of their schooling experience to a student of the future.
  • Ask students to view the photographs in the Gallery of Antarctic Images or in the picture galleries of the stations. Have them compare these colour images with the black and white images of Hurley (which can be viewed at the websites below). What differences do you notice? Do you think there are any advantages in the black and white format?
  • What sorts of difficulties would conditions in Antarctica have presented (and still present) to photographers?

Further information

On Kodak's site can be found a wonderful feature on Frank Hurley, hero of expedition photography, complete with many stunning photographs from the Shackleton 1914 expedition and discussion of Hurley's photographic techniques.

To see some of the photographs taken by Hurley on Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1914 see the exhibition Lines on the Ice put together by the State Library of NSW.

This page was last modified on July 3, 2014.