War photography was born in Crimea

British Army camp at Balaklava in the Crimean War, 1855. Photo: James Robertson (1813-1888) & Felice Beato (1833 or 1834 - c.1907).

With the conflict in Ukraine, Crimea peninsula suddenly back in the news. Russian troops try to control area and U.S.A., NATO and their allies trying to force Russia to retreat.

But it is not the first crisis at Crimea peninsula. October 1853 The Crimean War started as a conflict between Russia and French, British, Ottoman Empira and Sardinia Alliance. ¹

And photographs which were  taken at this war accepted as  the very earliest war photography.

Roger Fenton, The valley of the shadow of death. Dirt road in ravine scattered with cannonballs.

During  1853 The Crimean War , British photographers Roger Fenton ²(1819 – 1869) and James Robertson (1813 – 1888) , the Italian-British Felice Beato (1832 – 1909) and Austro-Hungarian-born Carol Szathmari³  (1812 – 1887)) making what most historians consider the very first photographs of a major military conflict.

Salt print on paper from photographs taken by James Robertson

Salt print on paper from photographs taken by James Robertson

Their photographs serve as compelling documentation of the look and, in a sense, the logistics of mid-19th century warfare. And after that photography took hold as a critical method of reportage and war photography advanced very quickly. 

Roger Fenton

Felice Beato

Carol Szathmari




1– More about 1853 Crimea War click here
2– More about Roger Fenton and more Crimean War photographs click here
3- More about Carol Szathmari click here