This photo is by Hugo Jaeger. He was the personal photograph for Adolf Hitler from from ’36 to ’45 and did so in color unlike Hitler’s other photographer Heinrich Hoffman who did black and white.
At the end of the war before Hitler died Jaeger ran into some Americans while carrying a suitcase of photos and the was worried about being caught with so many pictures of Hitler. The story goes that they opened the suitcase and found a bottle of booze which the Americans opened and drank with Jaeger while Jaeger slipped the photos out of the suitcase and soon after buried them in glass jars outside of Munich, Germany.
In 1955 Jaeger returned to Munich and dug the jars up to find the photos still safe and preserved. He then stored them in a bank vault until selling them to LIFE Magazine in 1965.
This photo is one of those photos.
Specifically this photo is from an annual ceremony that was the swearing in of the SchutzStaffel (SS) which as we know was the police arm of the Third Reich.
HERE is another picture from that same ceremony but from a reverse angle looking out at the crowd. This was also sold to LIFE magazine and was buried outside of Munich
His joy is to reproduce its pictures artistically, his grief is to fail to do so. -Captain Robert Scott, 1911
Herbert Ponting began his career in photography relatively late in life. After moving from Salisbury England to California in his early twenties, he dabbled unsuccessfully in mining and fruit-farming before turning to photography. He became correspondent on the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05, and afterwards continued to travel around Asia, exploring Burma, Korea, Java, China and India. During this time he delivered magnificently created images back to newspapers, periodical and magazines, and in 1910 released his book In Lotus-land Japan.
In 1911 Ponting joined Scott’s British Terra Nova Expedition, which set out to collect scientific data about the Antarctic continent, with its main goal to reach the South Pole. Ponting was the first professional photographer on an Antarctic expedition and went on to set other precedents in Antarctica. He took some of the first still color photographs in Antarctica using auto chrome plates, and was one of the first men to use a cinematograph to capture short video sequences on the ice.
Coining the term to ‘pont’, meaning ‘to pose until nearly frozen, in all sorts of uncomfortable positions’, Ponting thought it imperative to get the picture just right. On the expedition he could often be found rigging up a device to allow himself to suspend from the ship, sometimes creating risky situations for himself and other crew mates.
During his fourteen months at Cape Evans he documented the Antarctic landscape, wildlife and expedition life, and often kept the men entertained by showing lantern slides of his travels through Asia.
Judged too old at the age of forty-two to sustain another grueling year on the ice, Ponting, along with eight other men, was sent home after the first year of the expedition. Back in England he was devastated to learn of the deaths of Scott and the Polar Party. He spent the remainder of his life lecturing on Antarctica and the expedition to ensure that the splendor of Antarctica and the heroism of Scott and his men would not be forgotten. His book The Great White South was published in 1921, and in 1933 his moving footage in full sound version Ninety Degrees South: With Scott to The Antarctic was released.
“The Sleeping Bag” (Herbert Ponting’s poem, outlining preferences on how to orient one’s reindeer-skin sleeping bag):
On the outside grows the furside. On the inside grows the skinside.
So the furside is the outside and the skinside is the inside.
As the skinside is the inside (and the furside is the outside)
One ‘side’ likes the skinside inside and the furside on the outside.
Others like the skinside outside and the furside on the inside
As the skinside is the hard side and the furside is the soft side.
If you turn the skinside outside, thinking you will side with that ‘side’,
Then the soft side furside’s inside, which some argue is the wrong side.
If you turn the furside outside – as you say, it grows on that side,
Then your outside’s next the skinside, which for comfort’s not the right side.
For the skinside is the cold side and your outside’s not your warm side
And the two cold sides coming side-by-side are not the right sides one ‘side’ decides.
If you decide to side with that ‘side’, turn the outside furside inside
Then the hard side, cold side, skinside’s, beyond all question, inside outside.
Some of the Antarctic Photographs of Herbert Ponting:
A Russian spy laughing through his execution in Finland, Rukajärvi, in East Karelia, in November 1942.
A Soviet spy laughs at his executioner in a picture taken in Rukajärvi, in East Karelia, in November 1942. It has been thought within the Finnish Defence Forces that the decision to withhold pictures of the fate of Russian POWs and spies may also have been prompted by concerns that pro-Soviet elements in Finnish society could have used the images for propaganda purposes. This picture was declassified by the Ministry of Defense of Finland in the 2006, with the description: Unknown Soviet intelligence officer before being shot. Finland, in 1942.
It’s a pretty amazing picture. To capture the last few moments of life. He knows he will die in a few seconds, in a forest in the snow. And there he will bleed out and be forgotten. His life, his experience, has come to an end. What else could he do but smile? That smile was is final Defiance. Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back.
Of note, Finland was allied with Germany and at war with USSR. This is the Continuation War, not the previous Winter War. By 1942 Finland was involved in the blockade of Leningrad (that starved to death 1 million civilians). Finland was not that involved, to be exact they refused to assist with the siege directly even though their frontlines we’re just about 30km away.
WWII for Finland was the Winter War (Soviets invade Finland, Finland fights until it almost literally has no more ammunition left in Finland so they have to negotiate a peace where they lose territory which the Soviets were glad to accept since they had lost so many people – meanwhile, the other democracies of the world initially help Finland since the Soviet Union is one of the “bad guys” – allied with Nazi German – but then get distracted by Nazi shenanigans), the Continuation War (Finland allies with Nazi Germany to take back territory lost in the Winter War – meanwhile, other democracies are placed in an awkward situation since now, the Soviet Union is one of the “good guys” since the Nazis backstabbed the Soviet Union) and the Lapland War (Finland negotiates separate peace with allies on fairly favorable terms – since the western allies realize that the Soviet Union is actually not a “good guy” but an “enemy of my enemy” – and kicks Nazis out of Finland).
This picture was declassified in 2006.
Police constable Karlsson could outrun the car. Here is a picture of the police report.