The Origins of war reporting: the English photographer Roger Fenton and the Crimean war (1855)

from 11/11/2021 to 27/02/2022
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Until 27 February 2022, the Château de Chantilly is holding an exhibition devoted to the war photography of Roger Fenton, a pioneer in the field of war photography, who followed the soldiers of Queen Victoria, allied with those of Napoleon III in a conflict against the armies of the Tsar in 1855, namely the Crimean War. Some 360 photographs, acquired by the Duc d’Aumale, survived from his three-month stay in the warzone.

webpage of the exhibition in English

The Origins of war reporting: the English photographer Roger Fenton and the Crimean war (1855)

Roger Fenton (1819-1869), a painter who trained in Paris possibly in Delaroche’s studio alongside future photographers such as Gustave Le Gray, Henri Le Secq and Charles Nègre, turned to photography around 1850. He was close to Queen Victoria and in 1855 received an order to travel to Crimea to photograph the siege of Sebastopol, where England, France and Piedmont were supporting the Ottoman Empire against Russia. From March to June 1855, Fenton provided aseptic images of a bloody conflict, which was very unpopular in Europe.

His “photography truck” was a target for Russian fire. The strong summer light and heat made his working conditions difficult and so he quickly decided that his wet collodion process photography could only take place at dawn.

He photographed soldiers, officers, war correspondents (including the Times correspondent), participated in the daily life of the military staff and, on 8 June 1855, attended the council of war that decided to attack the Malakoff redoubt.

After three months of stressful reporting, feverish and depressed (he had seen friends die and his brother-in-law wounded), Fenton returned to England with 360 photographs taken using the glass print technique, which were printed on salted paper and published in instalments by the publisher Thomas Agnew in London.

These prints, acquired in October-November 1855 by the Duc d’Aumale, who was in exile in London at that time, are among the first photographs in his collection and one of the first ever war reports that marked the beginnings of photography.

Domaine de Chantilly
7 rue Connétable, Le Château, 60500 Chantilly
The Château de Chantilly is 20 minutes from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and 40 km from Paris.

Exhibition included in the 1 Day ticket with no extra charge.

Open 10.30am-5pm closed on Tuesdays.

Press Dossier (in French)


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