Roger Fenton, (born 1819, Heywood, near Rochdale, Lancashire, England—died August 8, 1869, London), English photographer best known for his pictures of the Crimean War, which were the first extensive photographic documents of a war.. Fenton studied painting and then law. ( Log Out / This Photo series captures not just the moral of the troops but also the harsh reality of the situation. Shortly thereafter, he went on to study law, and married Grace Maynard in 1843. Of the more than 350 plates he produced, many are carefully posed groups of officers. 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. 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. Few wished to purchase images of a war most people wanted to forget. The London print publisher Thomas Agnew & Sonsbecame his commercial sponsor. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. By Tina Miller, Angelo State University, for IPHF, "The valley of the shadow of death" Crimean War photograph. He purchased a wine merchant’s van and converted it to a mobile darkroom, filling the van with cases of photographic equipment and supplies including five cameras and 700 glass plates. 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. 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. Fenton also hoped to sell his photographs to the general public, and knew that gruesome, realistic images would not be marketable. In addition, Fenton suffered broken ribs while unloading his equipment, and also contracted cholera during his four months in the Crimea. 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. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. 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. 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. His commission was largely an exercise in propaganda, and the images depict a somewhat one-sided view. He was soon appointed as the first photographer to the British Museum, and began to photograph the British Royal Family. To gain the cooperation of the war ministry and commanders in the field, he obtained letters of introduction from Prince Albert. ( Log Out / The volume offers a more comprehensive view of his work beyond the dozen or … Roger Fenton. In the mid-1840s, Fenton traveled between London and Paris, also studying at the studio of Michel-Martin Drolling. 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.