All of Cook’s pictures purporting to illustrate his climb of Mount McKinley in 1906 have been shown to be misrepresentations or out-and-out fakes, such as the one he claimed showed his climbing partner standing on the summit of the mountain itself.  Likewise his diary shows discrepancies that cannot be reconciled with his published account.  In fact, his two hoaxes show a great many commonalties of conception, technique and manufactured evidences of success.  (See the article under News for a detailed look at the Mount McKinley hoax.) 
     His polar pictures fare little better upon analysis.  Opposite pages 300 and 301 in his book, Cook printed two pictures representing his igloo at the North Pole, which contain little detail and no discernible shadows.  Cook attributed their washed-out appearance to the non-actinic light at the Pole, which caused a “blue haze over everything” and a diffuse effect on the film. 

    Yet a photograph of the same igloo in Rudolph Franke's book is not spoiled by “non-actinic light.”  The existence of a clear photograph of this igloo tends to show that the polar igloo picture, too, is a fake, since it destroys the reason Cook gave for the lack of definition in the ones he printed.    The original photo, recovered from the Library of Congress, strongly indicates that it has been intentionally overexposed in developing.  This is shown by the light appearance of the pure black frame line.  There is also evidence of selective dodging and burning to bring out some details, such as the igloo, and to obscure others.
    Donald MacMillan reported that one of Cook’s Inuit companions told him that this "polar igloo" was built near Cape Faraday on the eastern shore of Ellesmere Land in the spring of 1909. By that time Cook had abandoned one of his sledges and all of his dogs. No dogs and a portion of only one sledge are visible in either of Cook's polar igloo photographs, though he claimed to have two sledges and dogs at the Pole.
    Other photographs indicate misrepresentation as well, when compared with original prints now in the Library of Congress. In the one opposite page 172, the original shows definite shadows of measurable objects, none of which are long enough for even the highest sun angle Cook would have experienced on the outward trip—12 degrees. This picture must have been taken when the sun would have been at a far higher angle than implied by its position in the text.
    Proponents have often pointed to one of Cook's photos as evidence in his favor. The one opposite page 269, labeled “Mending near the Pole,” has shadows appropriate to a sun angle of 12 degrees, but this could be a coincidence or even an easily faked deception, which in isolation proves nothing.
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