Danger Photographer at Work
The American Civil War was perhaps the fourth war in history to be covered by camera, and one of the bloodiest.
Photography profoundly changed the way wars were covered and viewed. Any grandeur and sweetness of an aftermath of a victorious battle, which was once up to a painter to portray, all of a sudden became objective. Losing its subjectivity, the true terror of war could not be hidden any more. Americans for the first time saw the vividly horrific photographs of maimed and dying fellow Americans in agony slowly withering away on a battlefield far away from their homes. Astonishment and shock -- not toward the cruelty of war as much as to the newly innovated barbaric weapons of war -- left Americans bewildered.
As newspapers did not yet have the technology or equipment for making half-tone blocks, magazines across the land published cadaverous pictorial representations of the worst of humanity. Those scenes of pillage and shame were captured by men like George Brady and many more.
In the truest aspect of any conflict the winners did get to write the most of the history and the majority of known photographers were from the North.
Many photographs were taken by Southerners but many of them were lost in history. The Photographic History of the Civil War (It is quite big and boring but there are some interesting early photographs) might better explain:
- The natural disappointment in the South at the end of the war was such that photographers were forced to destroy all negatives, just as owners destroyed all the objects that might serve as souvenirs or relics of the terrible struggle, thinking for the moment at least, that they could not bear the strain of brooding over the tragedy.
So what would be more natural for the American Civil War Society to have a photographer on it's battle roster, working for the North of course.
That is the last of the ACW images for now but if you need more then they can be found on my Flick Slide show here.
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