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Roger Fenton's photographs of the Crimea, 1855

Roger Fenton (1819-69)

Valley of the Shadow of Death 23 Apr 1855

Albumen print | 25.7 x 35.0 cm (image) | RCIN 2500514

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Photograph of a ravine in the Crimea known as the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The ravine is littered with cannonballs fired from the Russian defences.

This iconic image of war was photographed by Fenton in April 1855. The ravine, named by British soldiers using a phrase from the 23rd Psalm, shows the desolate landscape in which the battles of the Crimean War were fought. The photograph was difficult to set up, and Fenton later wrote that ‘it was plain that the line of fire was upon the very spot I had chosen’. Fenton was forced to move 100 yards from his chosen spot to avoid the cannon fire, but ‘after this no more came near, though plenty passed on each side’.