At Destinations last weekend there was a display of Ponting's photos from Antarctica which conveyed the immense power a photo can have on the viewer. The image of Scott and his ill-fated companions at the South Pole in front of the Norwegians' tent is almost too poignant to bear. Do go and see for yourselves - it's at the Royal Geographical Society, it's free and on now until the end of March.
There is also another exhibition at the Queen's Gallery showing not only some of Ponting's photos of Scott's expedition but also Hurley's images of Shackleton's incredible experience on the same continent - now until mid-April.
With the bankruptcy of one of the world's most iconic names, Kodak, it made me ponder on the changing face of photography when travelling. We have gone from carefully clutching our rolls of film to be developed once we returned home to taking instant images on a variety of appliances (sometimes even a camera!) and being able to send these to anyone we like immediately, from halfway round the world. Or upload them for public viewing. Or even use them to create our own personalised postcard - if you are still into sending snail mail that is.
Personally I believe that sometimes removing yourself from behind whatever appliance you are using to take images actually places you deeper into your destination. Some of my most memorable moments have been experienced when, after a lot of swearing, I have been faced with a broken camera and have had to rely on eyeball memories alone. And other times I have simply just put the camera down in order to get closer to the place I am in. Cruising to Antartica was one of those times. On safari was another.
So maybe for that ultimate Kodak moment nothing else is needed except eyes and memory.....
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