An excellent exhibition of photographs by Roger Fenton (1819-69) is currently on display next to the Turner prize nominees at Tate
Fenton’s scenes of stately homes continue this dialectic of permanence/transience: the brief lives of the owners, the old stones. A favourite of mine is The Long Walk (1860) taken at
Fenton’s photographs of the Crimean War avoid the conflict itself but tell a moving story through landscapes. Valley of the Shadow Death (1855), for example, shows a nondescript track, littered with cannon balls. Elsewhere Fenton captured the empty plain at Sebastopol, another bleak vista, with just a few isolated figures gesturing towards the distant town.