ARCHIVED In Search of Herbert Ponting in Japan, with author Anne Strathie
Monday 16 August 2021
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Herbert Ponting (1870-1935) is now perhaps best known as photographer and filmmaker for Captain Scott’s second Antarctic Expedition (1910-13), from which he returned with thousands of stunning photographs and extensive film footage.
As a young man, Ponting worked as a banker in Liverpool, before emigrating to California, where he ran a fruit ranch. After some initial success with his photographs, his first commission was from C.H. Graves, who wanted new stereoview images of Japan. For five years Ponting travelled regularly to Asia, particularly to Japan, where he photographed the land and people, reported on the Russo-Japanese war and published two photographic albums (one dedicated to Basil Hall Chamberlain). After Ponting returned to Britain his photographs of Japan were widely exhibited and published, including in his memoir In Lotus Land: Japan (1910), images from which featured at the Japan-British Exhibition in White City.
Anne Strathie used Ponting’s own accounts, archive and other research material and a visit to Japan to piece together Ponting’s time there and understand its impact on his life and career. In this lecture she will describe how she did so and talk about the wide-ranging achievements of Herbert Ponting in early 20th century Japan and Antarctica.
* Two views of Fuji-san: Ponting climbing upper slopes with guide, bearers and photographic equipment; from a distance, across Lake Motosu, with kaia grass in foreground (Photographs by Herbert Ponting, images © A. Strathie).
Anne Strathie is a writer and researcher on polar and other subjects. Herbert Ponting: Scott’s Antarctic Photographer and Pioneering Filmmaker (2021) is her third book on members of Captain Scott’s Terra Nova expedition (all published by The History Press) and follows Birdie Bowers: Captain Scott’s Marvel and From Ice- Floes to Battlefields: Scott’s ‘Antarctics’ in the First World War. Anne’s research has taken her to Japan, Antarctica, New Zealand, Australia, America and Spitsbergen and all over Britain; she has lectured at the Royal Geographical Society, Royal Photographic Society and festivals and events in Britain and overseas.
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