PONTING, Herbert George. The Great White South or With Scott in the Antarctic. Being an Account of Experiences with Captain Scott's South Pole Expedition and of the Nature Life of the Antarctic. London, Duckworth & Co., .
8vo. Original dark-blue cloth, upper board blocked in red with British Antarctic Expedition device, spine lettered in red with the extremely rare illustrated dust-wrappers; pp. xxvi, 305; half-tone frontispiece after Ponting, half-tone portrait of Ponting after Elliott & Fry, numerous photographic plates, mostly after Ponting; very minor rubbing to edges of the coth, wrappers with a few marginal repairs, but without text or image loss; light offsetting from endpapers, otherwise very clean and fresh; scholl prize bookplate of Holmfirth Secondary School inside front cover.
Third 'cheap' edition. Ponting saw the shortcomings of amateur photographers, and wanted a professional to document the Terra Nova expedition. After Cecil Meares had introduced Scott to Ponting (1870-1935), who was already a well-established and successful photographer (principally of nature), Ponting was recruited to Scott's expedition as 'camera artist' (i.e. photographer and cinematographer). As Rosove comments, 'Ponting was the first professional photographer to accompany an Antarctic expedition, and the difference showed in the brilliance of his work'. Scott certainly felt that his decision and choice of photographer was vindicated, stating that, '[Ponting's] value as pictorial recorder of events becomes daily more apparent. No expedition has ever been illustrated so extensively, and the only difficulty will be to select from the countless subjects that have been recorded by his camera -- and yet not a single subject is treated with haste; the first picture is rarely counted good enough, and in some cases five or six plates are exposed before our very critical artist is satisfied' (quoted in R. Huntford Race for the South Pole; the Expedition Diaries of Scott and Amundsen (London and New York: 2010), p. 39). On his return to Britain, Ponting undertook a series of lecture tours illustrated with his images, and in October 1921 his narrative of the expedition was published as The Great White South, which 'proved to be one of the most popular expedition accounts, along with Scott's diary and the books by Cherry-Garrard and Evans. The narrative is imbued with joy and a light touch of humor' (Rosove). - The preliminaries end with the publisher's note that 'enlargements, suitable for framing, maybe obtained of many of the photographs reproduced in this book'.
Rosove 251. B.1 (no mention of the dust-wrappers).