Antarctica explorers have discovered photo negatives that are nearly 100 years of age, located inside a box. There were 22 unexposed and unprocessed negatives which had been taken by the group’s photographer. They were found in an old check-up hut preserved in a block of ice.
Back in 1915, an ill-fated voyage which was called the Ross Sea Party started out on the New Zealand side of Antarctica to try and launch supply depots for travelers coming to Antarctica. But their ship ended up coming loose from the moorings it was attached to. This left the six men stranded and struggling just to survive. They would end up living over three years on the continent before they were ultimately rescued. Now, almost a century later, the discovery of the undeveloped photographs shows that the individuals might have left behind more than anyone knew.
The amazing discovery was found by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust. They were in the process of working to refurbish one of the expedition’s old living huts. The 22 negatives were most likely left there by the Ross Sea Party, while they were stranded those years.
The negatives were not in very good shape when they were first discovered, but a New Zealand photography studio decided to take the time to carefully process and bring them back until they could reveal what was on them.
After they were processed, the photographs showed brand new views of Ross Island and also two new pictures of the expedition’s main scientist Alexander Stevens. These were able to definitely link the photographs to the 1915 expedition. What was even more unexpected after such a long time in the ice, was that the majority of the picture damage was only narrowed along the edges, The portrait studio was able to attain an almost fully complete refurbishment of all the images.
However, who took the pictures is unknown, although it is reported that the expedition’s photographer was Arnold Patrick Smith, so it is most likely that these photos were some of his. Regardless of whoever took them, the discovery is still something extraordinary.
The Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Manager, Nigel Watson, stated that the photographs were the very first example that he has ever been aware of, of undeveloped photographic negatives that come from nearly 100 years ago from the Antarctic heroic age. There really is a rareness of any kind of pictures or descriptions of any kind from that one certain expedition. That is why these pictures are such a great find.
The Ross Sea Party was in due course rescued off Antarctica, but this happened only after three of the expedition party, which included Smith, had tragically passed away. That makes these photographs even more of a legacy that those men were able to leave behind. These negatives give a preview back to what was a long ago lost age of investigation.
The Antarctica explorers of 100 years ago definitely left a legacy with those unexposed photographs.
By Kimberly Ruble