Civil War Photography

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The Civil War was one of the first wars to be documented thoroughly with the aid of photography. Mathew Brady and his team of twenty-three men took great care to document the war thoroughly. Brady began his photography career in photography in 1844, opening a Daguerrean Miniature Gallery in New York City (Mathew Brady 's World - A Biographical Timeline). Brady gained permission from president Lincoln to follow the Union troops to document the war in 1861. Mathew Brady, his team and his photographs had a paramount impact on public opinion of the Civil War that continues to this day, a major impact on modern day photojournalism and the future of war time photography. Mathew Brady was born in 1822 or 1823, the exact date is disputed, in Warren …show more content…
Nineteenth century military art emphasized heroism and ignored the horrors of war. At the beginning of the war many of Brady’s counterparts continued this style of military art in the medium of photography. They photographed Union Generals in uniform, striking Napoleonic poses. This poses consisted of a hand in their suit coat or a hand on a sword, any pose to look strong and heroic. Brady initially took part in this military tradition, but eventually, his goal shifted to get away from this style of military art and take a more objective view of what war is really like and the tragedy that war really was. This process of capturing the realities of war required a lot of trial and error, as combat had never been attempted to be photographed before. This process began with a rocky start, photographing the First Battle of Bull Run, did not go exactly as Brady had hoped, he was unable to capture any real battle scenes and in the commotion of the Union retreat he was not really able to capture the reality of the battle 's aftermath. Slowly but surely Brady was able to capture the realities of war in an effective manner. Brady determined that he would be unable to capture any real combat, as the technology at the time was not capable of doing so, so he rather focused on the organizational complexity of the Army, the cooks, the technicians, the engineers, the …show more content…
They also were subjected to the threat of capture. At the First Battle of Bull Run, Brady and his assistants, with two mobile darkrooms lost almost all their equipment during the Union Army’s chaotic retreat back to Washington. To make things even worse, Brady and his men got lost in the woods following the retreat and had to spend the night in the woods before he finally made it back to Washington. On July, 5 1863, Alexander Gardner, was photographing the aftermath of the battle when he was taken prisoner by General Jeb Stuart’s cavalry. Gardner was returned several hours later and returned to photograph the scene of his capture (Marrow). These men took great risks to capture the war and document its reality, including potentially losing their

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