Little is currently known about the photographers throughout HMS Challenger's journey between 1872 and 1876. There were 3 photographers, who all served different periods throughout the voyage:
Caleb Newbold – Newbold was a non-commissioned officer (corporal) from the Royal Engineers (Brunton, 2004). In South Africa, he absconded but we don't know why (Rehbock, 1993) and his pay was forfeited. The police were apparently sent to look for him, but the ship left before anything else was mentioned. We think that he left due to the lure of diamonds but this is speculation. He had served for 1 year.
Frederick Hodgeson – Hodgeson was a civilian and recruited in South Africa (Brunton, 2004). Noting else seems to be mentioned about him until he also deserted in Hong Kong. It has been said that he was horribly sea sick throughout the voyage from South Africa to Hong Kong via the roaring forties which might explain why he left (Rehbock, 1993). He had many chances to leave before Hong Kong, so why Hong Kong? He was required to pay income tax on the voyage but never did (Brunton, 2004). He had served for 1 year.
Jesse Lay – Lay was reportedly the most satisfactory of the photographers (Brunton, 2004) but little else seems to be mentioned. He was recruited in Hong Kong to replace Hodgeson and had the benefit of working cameras (they were fixed in Hong Kong), as well as a new wide angle lens; the number of panoramas seeming to be less from Hong Kong onwards. He had served for 18 months, and stayed with the voyage until it was paid-off in 1876 in the UK.
If there is any more information we can gather about these three individuals, we are a step closer to better understanding their styles of photography.
If you find anything new, please post it here for all to see.