Herbert Ponting

Born 1870 in the UK. After graduating from Wellington College in Leyland, Lancashire county, from age 18 he worked for four years for a local bank in Liverpool. However the job didn't suit his nature, and fascinated by the American West, he moved to California in 1893, where he married a local girl in 1895.

His first daughter was born in 1897, followed by the birth of his son while withdrawing to London at the end of 1898. In 1899, the family eventually returned to San Francisco, and Ponting seriously turned his attention toward photography, shooting
award-winning photographs of San Francisco Bay in 1900. In the same year, a photo titled "Californian Mule" was on display at the Kodak booth at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

For several years starting in 1901, Ponting received requests for photo shootings in all corners of the world, and captured among others scenes of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-5. After that he worked as a freelance photographer while traveling across Asia, before getting divorced in 1906. Ponting's book "
In Lotus-Land Japan" was published in 1910. He had repeatedly come and traveled across the country since 1901, familiarizing with the arts, customs and sceneries of Japan. While serving in the Russo-Japanese War as the first foreigner to be embedded with the Japanese army, Ponting encountered Japanese life in the raw by way of his fellow soldiers.

Ponting's photographic technique is all self-taught without any specialized training, which certainly is what adds that compelling human touch to every picture he takes.


  • Herbert Ponting

    Captain Scott’s Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913

    Herbert Ponting

    The British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition, 1910-1913, on which Captain Robert Falcon Scott and four of his companions perished whilst returning from the South Pole, is among the most important early expeditions to the Antarctic. The photographs of the endeavour, taken by Herbert Ponting, constitute one of the most compelling visual records in the history of exploration.
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