Shortly thereafter, he went on to study law, and married Grace Maynard in 1843. 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. Fenton died in 1869 at the age of 49. Roger Fenton. Fenton’s photographs were the first large-scale photographic documentation of war; therefore there were no precedents for him to follow. 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 returned to photographing scenic views around Britain and Wales, and produced still-life images and carefully posed Middle-Eastern figures in elaborate settings. 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. 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 completely abandoned photography in 1862, sold all of his equipment and images and returned to his law practice. 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. 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. 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. Change ), Critical Evaluation of Barbara Hepworth museum. 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. An exhibit of more than 300 of Fenton’s photographs opened at the Water Colour Society’s Pall Mall East establishment in London in September 1855. His commission was largely an exercise in propaganda, and the images depict a somewhat one-sided view. ( Log Out /  His work was marketed by leading printsellers, including Thomas Agnew and Sons, of Manchester and London, and his association with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert soon created the opportunity to experiment with even more diverse subject matter. Few wished to purchase images of a war most people wanted to forget. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your account. 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. ( Log Out /  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, […] Of the more than 350 plates he produced, many are carefully posed groups of officers. That same year, he traveled to Russia to document the construction of a suspension bridge over the Dnieper River in the Ukraine. ( Log Out /  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. He returned to England, and the remainder of the war was photographed by James Robertson. The use of macro Photography within my work. The extreme temperatures of the region were intensified in the confines of the darkroom, and his wagon was often mistaken as a target. This Photo series captures not just the moral of the troops but also the harsh reality of the situation. Michael W. Davidson and Florida State University. The conditions in the Crimea were as inhospitable to photographers as they were to the soldiers. He continued to paint, but returned to his studies in law and began his practice as a solicitor in 1851. 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.

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