Thursday, January 19, 2006

From the Mathew Brady Studios, NYC and Washington, DC

Following the thread of photography / technology and the ways it has affected men and regions . . .

The story of master photographer Mathew Brady is touching. He is the first declared photographic historian of America, says American Memories, the Library of Congress site. He built success as a social portraitist (studios in both NYC and Wash, DC) but over-invested in his coverage of the US Civil War. He spent $100,000 assembling 10,000 photos of that war, says the LOC. He died penniless and broken because no one wanted to pay for the photos of this horrendous war during the sober aftermath.

* Sketch a map of the states east of the Mississippi. Many Louisianians don't whether Connecticut is north or south of NYC or whether Pennsylvania is above or below Massachusetts.
* Identify and outline the 11 secessionist states.

secede / secessionist
emancipate / manus / manual
Battle of Bull Run / Manassas / outside Wash, DC

Battle of Antietam, MD, 1862: Confederate forces under General Lee were caught by General McClellan near Sharpsburg, Maryland. This battle proved to be the bloodiest day of the war; 2,108 Union soldiers were killed and 9,549 wounded -- 2,700 Confederates were killed and 9,029 wounded. The battle had no clear winner, but because General Lee withdrew to Virginia, McClellan was considered the victor. The battle convinced the British and French -- who were contemplating official recognition of the Confederacy -- to reserve action, and gave Lincoln the opportunity to announce his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (September 22), which would free all slaves in areas rebelling against the United States, effective January 1, 1863. - Library of Congress

Battle of Gettysburg, PA, 1963: Gen. Meade defeated Gen. Lee but failed to pursue him to a conclusive vistory. The LOC says, "Militarily, the Battle of Gettysburg was the high-water mark of the Confederacy; it is also significant because it ended Confederate hopes of formal recognition by foreign governments."

Glass plate photos: "During the Civil War, the process of taking photographs was complex and time-consuming. Two photographers would arrive at a location. One would mix chemicals and pour them on a clean glass plate. After the chemicals were given time to evaporate, the glass plate would be sensitized by being immersed -- in darkness -- in a bath solution. Placed in a holder, the plate would then be inserted in the camera, which had been positioned and focused by the other photographer. Exposure of the plate and development of the photograph had to be completed within minutes; then the exposed plate was rushed to the darkroom wagon for developing. Each fragile glass plate had to be treated with great care after development -- a difficult task on a battlefield."

Please see the section called "Does the camera ever lie?"

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