( Log Out / The resulting photographs may have been intended to offset the general unpopularity of the war among the British people, and to counteract the occasionally … The images he produced are not considered objective photojournalism today, nor was it his purpose at the time. and yet in utter contrast to these images, soldiers badly injured and dying with life threatening wounds. In response to the growing criticism of the British government’s handling of the Crimean War, Fenton was commissioned by the Agnew firm to produce photographs of the conflict. Famous for his 1855 image “valley of the shadow of death” taken during the Crimean war, this image highlights the savage nature of war with hundreds of cannon balls scattered throughout the otherwise peaceful landscape. Fenton, along with his equipment and a small staff, sailed to the region with the blessings and assistance of the British government, arriving in March 1855. "The valley of the shadow of death" Crimean War photograph. He said, “If I refuse to take them, I get no facilities for conveying my van from one locality to another.” After four months of photographing the war, and ill from cholera, he sold his van and packed his equipment. ( Log Out / Roger Fenton’s 1855 photo “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” is the first famous photograph of war, depicting a barren road littered with cannonballs fired during the Crimean War. Roger Fenton. Fenton was born into an affluent family near Manchester, England, in 1819 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from University College in London in 1840. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Change ), Critical Evaluation of Barbara Hepworth museum. Though he exhibited at the Royal Academy in England, Fenton enjoyed only limited success with his painting. The volume offers a more comprehensive view of his work beyond the dozen or … The London print publisher Thomas Agnew & Sonsbecame his commercial sponsor. Fenton knew the co-operation of the officers was essential to his success. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. He was soon appointed as the first photographer to the British Museum, and began to photograph the British Royal Family. 1855. Roger Fenton is a towering figure in the history of photography, the most celebrated and influential photographer in England during the medium’s “golden age” of the 1850s. ( Log Out / The extreme temperatures of the region were intensified in the confines of the darkroom, and his wagon was often mistaken as a target. Thomas Agnew and Sons, Fenton’s publishers, issued 337 photographs on mounts, individually and as parts of sets, but sales were less than anticipated. His commission was largely an exercise in propaganda, and the images depict a somewhat one-sided view. In 1853 he became one of the founding members of the Photographic Society in London (now the Royal Photographic Society) and served as the organization’s Honorary Secretary for three years. however just as impactful and my personal favourites from Fenton is his portraiture works of Allied soldiers in Crimea, these bodies of works give an insight that is truly ahead of its time, within some of these images you see soldiers posing in somewhat humorous positions, pouring each other wine, acting as if to be reading a map etc. Despite his education, Fenton’s real interest was in painting, and in 1840 he began to study painting at the studio of Charles Lucy, a member of the Royal Academy in London. Fenton’s photographs were the first large-scale photographic documentation of war; therefore there were no precedents for him to follow. Though his work is considered among the finest of his era, Fenton enjoyed little financial reward for his efforts. he mainly used large format and stereoscopic cameras. But there’s a second photo of the same road with no cannonballs, which has led photo historians, and, notably, American writer and filmmaker Susan Sontag, […] He completely abandoned photography in 1862, sold all of his equipment and images and returned to his law practice. It is likely that in autumn 1854, as the Crimean War grabbed the attention of the British public, that some powerful friends and patrons – among them Prince Albert and Duke of Newcastle, Secretary of State for War – urged Fenton to go to the Crimea to record the happenings. History / key developments of photography, evaluation of my work with the project as a whole, Critical reviews of artists and exhibition. He also photographed buildings and landscapes in Kiev, St. Petersburg and Moscow, and his images of these exotic locations gained him almost instant fame in England. Roger Fenton, Valley of the Shadow of Death (1855) — Source This image, taken by Roger Fenton during the Crimean War in 1855, is one of the earliest photographic records of warfare. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. The conditions in the Crimea were as inhospitable to photographers as they were to the soldiers. To gain the cooperation of the war ministry and commanders in the field, he obtained letters of introduction from Prince Albert. By 1851, Fenton had also begun experimenting with photography, and he returned to Paris to study the new negative-positive collodion process at the studio of Gustave Le Gray. In addition, Fenton suffered broken ribs while unloading his equipment, and also contracted cholera during his four months in the Crimea. The use of macro Photography within my work. That same year, he traveled to Russia to document the construction of a suspension bridge over the Dnieper River in the Ukraine. Exposure times were so long that battlefield scenes could only be recorded before or after the battle. Before taking up the camera, he studied law in London and painting in Paris. In addition to the difficulties of transporting the fragile glass plates used in the wet collodion process, the plates had to be coated with a thick, sticky light-sensitive solution immediately before the exposure was recorded, and developed immediately afterward. Shortly thereafter, he went on to study law, and married Grace Maynard in 1843. Fenton became Honorary secretary of the Photographic society in London in 1853, through his active involvement, and unlike many photographers at the time and even to date Fenton did not allow himself to be pulled into and confined into one genre of photography, he took Landscapes, Portraits, Narrative driven shots, Documentary images etc. He returned to England, and the remainder of the war was photographed by James Robertson.
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