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Freeze Frame Scott Polar Research Institute

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Between 1979 and 1982, Sir Ranulph Fiennes led the Transglobe expedition, during which he and his partner Charles Burton became the first people to reach both North and South Poles overland. Sir Ranulph has deposited the archive of the Transglobe expedition with the Scott Polar Research Institute and the photographs form an integral part of the Freeze Frame collections. Here he explains his personal choice of favourite images from Transglobe and the other Freeze Frame collections.

“My first reaction on encountering this collection is – how to choose from the wealth of polar images presented by Freeze Frame? This is an extraordinary collection, filled with remarkable images. However, certain things stand out for me, as potent reminders of polar exploration. First, is the scale of these great wildernesses, represented here by the vastness of the Antarctic plateau (P52/13/023) and the grandeur of Ellesmere Island (P2007/16/0189) – both of these images give a sense of how insignificant humans can feel in these environments.

The Antarctic Plateau

Then there are the heroes: Scott and his men at the South Pole, the officers of the Terra Nova, Scott in his den, Gino Watkins on the British Arctic Air Route Expedition, Shackleton during his final voyage on board Quest. These are the men who had an impact on our boyhood imaginations. These pictures represent the exhilaration and the hardship, the quiet moments and the great achievements. Some of them record the precious moments of humour that spur you on.

The great polar artists are here, too. Herbert Ponting, the camera-artist, produced some of the most haunting images of the Antarctic and was able to capture both the immense landscape and the trivia and enforced intimacy of expedition life. A particular favourite is Edward Wilson producing the painting of the paraselena. My own photo of a parhelion is included in homage.

I am delighted that the photographs from our Transglobe Expedition (1979-82) form part of this collection. Reaching the North Pole, our ship Benjamin Bowring and Bothie the dog and the frozen jeans being just a few of the images that we can now share with the world. I congratulate the Scott Polar Research Institute for its vision in bringing Freeze Frame to the widest audience.”

Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ photographic choices