1819–69, English pioneer photographer. Originally a barrister, Fenton worked from the early 1850s until 1862 as a fashionable architectural, still-life, portrait, and landscape photographer. Aesthetically sensitive and technically adept, he was the most acclaimed and influential photographer in England during this period and did much to establish photography as both an art and a profession. Fenton had a strong interest in Orientalist subjects and he also made (1852) a series of photographs of Moscow and Kiev. Sponsored by the royal family, he was commissioned in 1855 to document the Crimean War. Working under appalling conditions, he made 360 photographs emphasizing the romantic aspects of an unpopular war. His few combat pictures are among the earliest photographs of battle.
See biography by H. and A. Gernsheim (1954); studies by J. Hannavy (1975), R. Pare (1987), and G. Baldwin et al. (2004).
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