British photographic history

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Herbert Ponting and cine camera, 1911The collections held by the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, are among the richest in the world for the study of polar environments. Work began in April 2007 on the Freeze Frame project to capture and preserve its archive of historical images in digital form. This launched on 4 March 2009 and includes some of the most iconic polar images by Herbert Ponting, through to daguerreotypes and modern prints and slides.Click here to visit the website.

Over 20,000 photographic negatives and positives from 1845-1960, representing some of the most important visual resources for research into British and international polar exploration are represented. The work is still on-going so, for example, some of the earliest material from 1845 has yet to be added to the site. The digitisation of related documents - information from personal journals and official reports from expeditions on which these photographs were taken - will provide historical and cultural context for the images.

The Freeze Frame project is developing an online database of freely available visual and textual resources to support learning, teaching and research into topics relating to the history of Arctic and Antarctic exploration and science. Through a series of interpretative web pages and e-learning resources the project will provide access to hidden collections for all educational levels. We will encourage users to discover polar environments through the eyes of those explorers and scientists who dared to go into the last great wildernesses on earth.

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