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Frozen Negatives Developed After 100 Years in the Antarctic

We’re well accustomed to processing and digitising old image formats here at West-Net, but this recent discovery really blows our efforts out of the water.

Conservationists in New Zealand have discovered a clump of photographic negatives that were frozen in the Antarctic for a century. Members of the Antarctic Heritage Trust found the cellulose nitrate negatives in a small box in an abandoned expedition base at Cape Evans earlier last year.

The negatives were painstakingly separated, cleaned and removed of mould before being laid out as twenty-two separate sheets. These were then scanned and the digital negatives converted into positive images.

What they revealed were scenes from Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Ross Sea Party, who had the unfortunate circumstance of being stranded on Ross Island when their ship, the Aurora, blew out to sea during a massive blizzard. Three men didn’t survive the ordeal but the remainder were eventually rescued.

When you compare the recovered images to the original state of the negatives, it’s almost unbelievable how much detail was able to be uncovered. The faces of the explorers are clearly recognisable. You can see the frozen negatives and a gallery of the images here.

Courtesy Antarctic Heritage Trust nzaht.org

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