I love photography.

I love the way that it allows you to see things that you couldn’t otherwise see like the pattern of a bee’s wing caught in mid-flight. I love the way that it allows you to travel through time to see places long gone and people long dead.

I love the way that it can change the world.

One of the most important events in the history of our perception of war was the decision to send photographer Roger Fenton to the Crimea in 1854.

Soldiers in the Crimea in winter dress (1850s)

Soldiers in the Crimea in winter dress (1850s)

Fenton wasn’t a war photographer or a photojournalist as we understand it – his job was to produce positive images for the British Government. But the decision to send him made war a legitimate subject for photography and led to the more explicit photography of the American Civil War, the First World War and every war since. Up to that point, photography had been about portraits and landscapes – the stuff of painting. Fenton bridged the gap between doing the same thing differently and doing different things.

Images: Soldiers in the Crimea in winter dress (Photo credit: Roger Fenton (1819-1869); Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division,  LC-USZC4-9376; Fair use)