Everest - A Reconnaissance exhibition

01 November 2018


Closes: 27th November



Platinum prints, the first to be created from recently digitised silver nitrate negatives, give captivating insights in to the first British reconnaissance expedition to Everest in 1921.



Taken by George Mallory and other members of the first British reconnaissance expedition to Everest, the photographs are among the first to document the dramatic landscapes and local people of the Himalayas.


The exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society this autumn, will also include items from the Society’s Collections, including one of the first cameras to capture photographs at such high altitudes. 

Picture copyright RGS-IBGSalto-Ulbeek 3


While the images were intended to complement the expedition’s purpose of carrying out new and more detailed survey work of the region, they include images of the Sherpas who helped the team ascend the mountain. The prints also showcase some of the finest panoramas of any high mountain region ever taken.


Attempts to reach the summit of Everest were inspired by British Army Captain John Noel, who had made it to within 40 miles of the mountain in 1913. While Noel was unable to participate in the 1921 expedition, he advised what photography should take place. 

Picture copyright RGS-IBGSalto-Ulbeek 3 no 2


The Society worked with the Salto Ulbeek studio in Belgium to carry out the painstaking digitisation work needed to produce the platinum prints. Compared to silver prints, where the image is floating in a gelatine layer at the top of the paper, platinum prints have an expanded tonal range, three-dimensionality and a painterly quality. 


Royal Geographical Society

(with the Institute of British Geographers),

1 Kensington Gore,




Website: https://www.rgs.org/events/everest-–-a-reconnaissance/


Picture copyright: RGS-IBG/Salto-Ulbeek