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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

100 Year Old Arctic Negatives

Sometimes I run across photography based stories that are just too interesting not to share. This is one of them.

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Here is a story about a box discovered buried in Antarctica containing never before seen negatives from Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 expedition that was stranded during a blizzard when their ship blew out to sea (they were ultimately rescued, but the negatives were left behind). Read about it here and get a closer look at some of the processed photographs here. More information about that expedition, known as the Ross Sea Party, can be had here.

Ansel Was Here...Probably...Maybe

One of the many nice things about going on a workshop run by people devoted to teaching and ensuring a great experience is that they have plans 'up their sleeve' about where to go in order to get good shots in any weather condition.  So when the weather was less than optimal, in this case bright sunshine, blue sky, and no clouds.......John and Dan took us out to two superb 'old car graveyards'. I don't necessarily present the image below as 'fine art', but I do present it because of its very interesting history.  Does it look familiar to anyone?  How about that roof rack?

Well, this car supposedly belonged to Ansel Adams and that is his signature roof rack.  Now I don't say supposedly in an idle, matter of fact way.  Once again, supposedly, the vehicle VIN numbers have been matched to the car he owned in order to make the ID. Apparently, the front of the car had been replaced at some point so the license plate may not be helpful. Is it true?  Who knows (well, maybe somebody does) and in reality he left us so much that it really is a triviality as to whether this is truly the car he photographed from or not.

Still, the idea of him standing up there in Yosemite.........

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

Who?????  Say it slowly now....Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, who lived from 1863 to 1944. Sergei was apparently supported by Tsar Nicholas II to photograph Russia from 1909-1912.  He used a very sophisticated camera to take three rapid, sequential black and white photographs, one using a red, one using a green, and one using a blue filter.  He was then able to combine the images and display them with filtered lanterns to yield a final color image.....is this starting to sound like Photoshop channels, or what???  The more things change, the more they stay the same. The images are quite amazing, particularly given the era they come from.  Here are two images and a link to the original boston.com story that displays 34 of the photographs.  Of note, The Library of Congress purchased the glass plates in 1948, and there are hundreds of them to see.

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, Russia

Image by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

Image by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

Image by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

One of the fun parts about this was how I found out about the story.  Isn't it a pleasure when your children grow to the point that they understand and respect your interests, even though it may not be their 'cup of tea'?  Well, my son in college came across it while surfing the internet during a study break and sent me a link to it because he knew I would find it interesting.  He was right and I thought I would share it on the blog!