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Mathew Brady's Photography Of The Civil War

3647 words - 15 pages

Introduction
Photography opened the world’s view. “Until 1839 the world was blind. Vision was limited to the immediate spectator or the art of the artist, but the rest of the world and history could not see” (Horan 3). People imagine things and do not believe it until they see it. Unless someone has really seen it they believe what they want. Mathew Brady showed people what war was really like. Before Mathew Brady’s pictures people thought that war was an adventure and fighting was honorable but they never knew what it was like. War was extremely violent and people did not realize this except the ones who had experienced it. When they saw the pictures of the war most people were appalled. “Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our door-yards and along the streets, he has done something very like it…” (New York Times 1862). Most people did not make it out of war alive to tell their story, so Mathew Brady told it for them. How did Mathew Brady’s photography of the Civil War change the Americans view on war? He showed people not only the reality but the brutality of war.
Mathew Brady was an amazing photographer. He is considered the father of photojournalism and the greatest photographer of the 19th century. He is most well-known for his photography of the Civil War. His photographs had a great impact on the people during the time of war. Many photographers today look to him for inspiration. His pictures tell powerful stories about the soldiers. These soldiers had families that they would never get to see again. Mathew Brady’s pictures are of images most people never want to see. He is forever remembered for the pictures he has taken even if he is not in them. There is not much known about his life. He worked so hard on preserving America’s history but forgot to preserve his own.

Before the War
Mathew Brady was born in the year 1822 in Warren County, New York. His parents were Irish Immigrants named Andrew and Julia Brady. Little is known about his early life. Before his photography career he was a department store clerk and later opened his own small business manufacturing jewelry cases. He was on his way to Albany for reasons unknown when he met William Page, a painter, who introduced him to Samuel Morse. It was Samuel Morse who taught him how to take daguerreotypes, a type of photography in which you create a mirror image on a silver-surfaced copper plate. After he had mastered daguerreotypes he opened his own miniature gallery to show off his photographs. It was a successful gallery. He had won medals every year from 1844-1850. He had also begun photographing famous Americans, for example Edgar Allen Poe and James Cooper.
Mathew Brady had very poor eyesight “but the role of the portrait photographer was to create the image that the camera would capture, and thus his failing eyesight was not a...

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