Summertime, the Opening-Up of the Ice

PONTING, Herbert George

PONTING, Herbert George Summertime, the Opening-Up of the Ice

Fine Art Society, 1911.

Original blue-tinted carbon print. 580 x 740mm. Ponting's blindstamp signature to lower right corner, with the original Fine Art Society label to rear. In the original oak frame with gilt border. A remarkably clear and crisp, near fine example. One slight strip of toning to the image, but otherwise of great clarity and sharpness.

A classic image showing one of Ponting's great photographic subjects, Adelie penguins on the Summer ice, in the most desirable format.
Ponting's animal studies "necessitated weeks of patient watching for opportunities. Many days were spent, in temperatures well below zero, camping out on the ice, and hours of waiting, almost motionless, beside the camera, to secure records of curious habits, never before illustrated" (FAS exhibition catalogue).
Ponting had fitted out a dark-room aboard the Terra Nova, and begun photographing on its journey south from New Zealand. He took two film-cameras with him and several still cameras, chiefly taking 7 x 5 inch glass plate negatives and developing them on ship, as in the present example. Once the ship had made it to Ross Island and 'the hut' was established on Cape Evans, Ponting set up a second dark-room where he would work, sleep and live for the remainder of the expedition.
On this particular occasion, Ponting had to contend with more than just low temperatures as he made his pictures. That morning he left the ship alone and took his equipment by sled to a pool where he could picture the contrasts between floe-ice and berg-ice. "This pool was a most alluring feature of the vicinity, and its beauties were perpetuated in many pictures. When unruffled by the breeze, it was a faithful mirror of the sky, and penguins were continually leaping out of it, to rest awhile or roost on the ice. They took little or no notice of me as I made my photographs. Whilst I was engaged on one of them, I heard a sound behind me, and on looking round I saw a Killer whale — with open jaws, and eight feet of its length out of water — leaning on the ice, surveying me with interest. I didn't wait to pack my things. I almost threw them on to the sledge, and pulled off to a safer distance from the water — half expecting, as I did so, to feel the brute burst the ice under me, as I knew it was not very thick hereabouts." (Ponting, The Great White South)
The Fine Art Society Exhibition in 1913 sold carbon prints of 145 of Ponting's choicest photographs. Examples such as this - the largest sized prints available in their original frames - are uncommon

PROVENANCE: The Fine Art Society, 1913, No. 87.

Stock ID: 42184


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