By the time the first photographs were taken at war in the 1850s, the idea that 'the camera cannot lie' was already firmly embedded in the Victorian psyche. Photographs were truth, in a way the work of the war artist could never be. Long exposures and cumbersome equipment, however, meant that for the first few decades the medium could not capture action. Out of that early period came the celebrated - but rather prosaic - photographs of Roger Fenton in the Crimea, and the more realistic images of the American Civil War a decade later. War photography had been a reality for nearly fifty years before the reproduction of photographic images became possible in the daily press, restricting sales to subscription lists, print shops and photographic studios. For commercial reasons, photographers censored themselves - if the images shocked, they might be unlikely to sell. Once reproduction in magazines and newspapers became possible, official censorship began.
Through a rich selection of images - many of them never-before published - this book tells the story of the photographers who chronicled Britain's Victorian and Edwardian wars.