Zouave, 2nd Division
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Roger Fenton
British, 1855
Albumen print
6 13/16 x 6 in.

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As part of his Crimean series, Roger Fenton photographed himself dressed in a Zouave uniform and holding a rifle. The Zouaves were French soldiers in a multinational allied army who fought in the Crimean War, where Fenton photographed them. The allied troops were made up of numerous ethnic groups. The Zouaves were exceptional not only for their colorfully exotic Algerian-derived uniforms, but also for their superior skill in battle. Fenton was given the uniform by a French general. Titling the image as though it were a photograph of an actual Zouave soldier but using himself as a model, Fenton forgoes accurate ethnic representation in favor of the romanticized play-acting in which he occasionally indulged.