By Gordon Baldwin, Malcolm Daniel, Sarah Greenough
Roger Fenton (1819–1869) used to be England's so much celebrated photographer in the course of the 1850s, the younger medium's such a lot excellent second. After learning legislation and portray, Fenton took up the digital camera in 1851 and instantly started to produce hugely unique photographs. in the course of a decade of labor he mastered each photographic style he tried: architectural images, panorama, portraiture, nonetheless existence, reportage, and tableau vivant.
Fenton pictured noble state homes, evocative ruins, and the rolling geographical region that surrounded them—majestic summations of rural England. both arresting are his muscular perspectives of cathedrals and of the royal castles and homes of Parliament that embodied Britain's energy. owning faultless strategy and an artist's intuition for composition and lightweight, he made photos that mix the readability of a newly smooth international with the poetry of a Romantic sensibility. Fenton's such a lot compelling panorama works—intense meditations infused with a reverence for nature—call to brain cloud reports through Constable or Turner's explorations of sunshine and atmosphere.
Fenton's clutch was once wide-ranging. He traveled to Russia in 1852 and used to be one of the first to photo the Kremlin and different landmarks of Moscow and Kiev. Commissioned in 1855 to record the Crimean War—which pitted eu international locations opposed to an expansionist Russia—he again with images of shell-shocked squaddies and assured officials, perspectives of a chaotic Balaklava harbor, and bleak panoramas of the terrain of battle.
Sharing the mid-nineteenth-century ardour for all issues unique, Fenton produced a chain of Orientalist posed gown photographs during which he strove for the theatrical results of Delacroix and Ingres. a last, impressive sequence of lush nonetheless lifes triumphantly achieves an identical objective that Fenton had sought from the start: to illustrate that images may possibly equivalent portray or even surpass it.
An lively proponent of images, Fenton used to be the strength in the back of the founding of the Photographic Society (later the Royal Photographic Society), which inspired the development of the medium and the exhibition of members' works all through Britain. yet in 1862, for purposes either own undefined, he bought his gear and negatives, resigned from society, and again to the perform of legislation. In a profession of a unmarried decade, Fenton had performed a lot to rework images right into a medium of strong expression and visible delight.
This quantity offers 90 of Fenton's best photos, exactingly reproduced. Six prime students have contributed 9 illustrated essays that tackle each point of Fenton's occupation, in addition to a complete, documented chronology.