Felice Beato was the first photographer to devote himself entirely to photographing in Asia and the Near East. He photographed in Japan, India, Athens, Constantinople, the Crimea, and Palestine. He settled in Yokohama and from 1863 to 1877 made hundreds of ethnographic portraits and genre scenes in Japan. He eventually opened a furniture and curio business in Burma.
Beato's photographic career was also long affiliated with images of war. He photographed the Opium War in China in 1860 and the Sudanese colonial wars in 1885.
While in partnership with his brother-in-law James Robertson in the 1850s, Beato documented the Indian Mutiny and its aftermath. Their photographs are believed to be the first to show human corpses on a battlefield. Beato and Robertson were also among the earliest photographers to work in the Holy Land.