Thursday, July 29, 2010

Two old dags

Because the Franklin Expedition has left so little behind, we Franklin followers analyze the hell out of whatever we can find. The Franklin Dags, so talked about in other blogs, have held a certain fascination for me as well. Obviously, most of the pictures held by the Matlock, SPRI and the NMM are the same, but we know that Fitzjames and Des Voeux have two different shots. For me, however, the fascination lies mostly in the Des Voeux dag, but also in the the Collins dag.

The NMM has an overexposed version of Henry Foster Collins in which one can barely make out the man's features. The SPRI holds a beautiful dag of Collins, clear as day! I am not well informed about early photography, although I do find it fascinating. Could someone have fixed this picture of Collins? Was the overexposed shot created from the clear shot? I have so many questions I wish I had answers to!

While both pictures of clearly that of Charles F. Des Voeux, the one held by NMM shows a sober, handsome young officer, with regular, clearly defined features and a serious expression on his face. The one held by the SPRI looks like the same young man after a night of drunken carousing or at the onstart of a bad head cold. His eyes are puffy, with dark rings around them, his double chin hangs sloppily over his uniform, and he leers off into the distance. Never mind the fact that he puts on a hat for one, how could a man look so different from what is almost the exact same angle?

I'm not certain which camp I'm in when it comes to the debate over whether or not the Terror's officers (besides Crozier) were also photographed, but I do not have much hope that we will find them if we haven't by now. It seems more possible that we will be able to see the rumored third photograph of Goodsir, taken of a group while at Edinburgh. His first dag, taken in 1842 is badly developed, and his Erebus dag leaves alot of his facial features to the imagination.

Keep up the great research, Franklin followers!

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