Ron Carlson Arctic Expeditions

Ron Carlson Arctic Expeditions
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Officers

Here are some ACTUAL images of some of the key members of the Franklin Expedition.  

These  images were taken with cameras that represented one of the earliest forms of photography, called "Daguerreotype".  Mercury vapor from a pool of heated mercury would be used to develop the plate which consists of a copper plate with a thin coating of silver rolled in contact, which has previously been sensitized to light with iodine vapor.  This is to form silver iodide crystals on the silver surface of the plate.
1850 Daguerreotype Camera

The image is formed on the surface of a silver plate that looks like a mirror. It could easily be rubbed off with the fingers and would oxidize in the air, so from the outset daguerreotypes were mounted in sealed cases or frames with a glass cover.

Interesting note - Look closely at the images below, at the  shiny hat bills.  One can actually see the reflection of the masted ships in the background which means that they were posing at the ship dock. Perhaps a refection of the Terror or even the Erebus itself? James Fitzjames had 2 images taken (one is below).  As he shifted slightly for the two portraits, experts have determined when superimposing the pics, that not only is there the image of the ship reflecting, but also an image of Sir John Franklin himself standing there watching!  This enlightenment is thanks to  Russell Potter's blog (highly recommended viewing) "Visions of the North" and author William Battersby, from his book - "James Fitzjames, the Mystery Man of the Franklin Expedition"
(Per William, apparently Daguerreotypes do not have a grain like photographs do – the layer of metal that is developed is at the atomic level.  Therefore with some of them it is possible to blow up the eye so large that you can see the reflection on the retina – i.e., the full picture of what the person was looking at.  Let's hope someone might try that soon with these images.)

Sir John Franklin, (59) Captain - Erebus
James Fitzjames (33) Commander - Erebus
Graham Gore, Commander - Erebus
Francis Crozier (age 49) Captain - Terror

Lieutenant James Fairholme, Erebus
Edward Couch, Mate, Erebus
Lieutenant H.T.D. Les Vesconte, Erebus
Dr. Harry Goodsir, Assistant Surgeon, Erebus
James Reid, Ice Master, Erebus
Dr. Stephan Stanley, Surgeon, Erebus

1 comment:

  1. Very nicely presented, Ron. I had the privilege of looking at, and handling, the original Dag's at the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge. They are very moving relics.