'Mortar Batteries in Front of Piquet House, Light Division', 1855
© NMeM / Royal Photographic Society / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph by Roger Fenton (1819-1869) of British troops manning a mortar battery at the siege of Sebastopol, during the Crimean War (1854-1856). With his assistant Marcus Sparling and a mobile darkroom, a converted wine merchant's van, Fenton took 360 photographs of camp life, portraits and landscapes during the war. A dispute over religious sites in the Holy Land grew into a major European war with the allied forces of Ottoman Turkey, Britain, France and Sardinia invading southern Russia. The war bogged down into a lengthy siege of the port of Sebastopol, which fell in 1855. Roger Fenton was a founding member of the Royal Photographic Society and one of the most influential photographers of the 1850s. He is best known as one of the first war photographers, from his work in the Crimea in 1855.