…the British government hired photographer Roger Fenton to travel to Crimea and create some of the first war photographs in history. He arrived in March 1855 and stayed for 3.5 months.
While the sight of soldiers with a sketchbook as well as the occasional artist was not uncommon in the Crimea, the idea of a photographer ‘at the seat of war’ was new. Consequently, Fenton was pestered by troops wanting their ‘likeness’ taken, so much so that he noted he would ‘dread the sight of English officers riding up to my van’.
In the course of a single decade, Fenton had played a pivotal role—by advocacy and example—in demonstrating that photography could rival drawing and painting not only as a means of conveying information, but also as a medium of visual delight and powerful expression.