Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sepia Saturday: Mathew Brady's Photographs

Mathew Brady was borne
Mathew Brady was the father
of modern photojournalism,
and most especially, the first photographer
to undertake documentation of the U.S. Civil War.

Pennsylvania 31st Infantry Camp (photo by Mathew Brady Studio) from Library of Congress

Historian and filmmaker
Ken Burns has said that his documentary
"The Civil War" could not have been made
were it not for Brady's amazing photographs.

Encampment at Brandy Station, Virginia. Generals George Meade, 
John Sedgwick, and Robert O. Tyler with Staff Officers. February 1864. Library of Congress Collection.

Brady was said to be Abraham Lincoln's 
favorite photographer and took photos
of the Lincoln family, 
as well as photos of the execution 
of those complicit in Lincoln's assassination.

The four condemned conspirators in the Lincoln Assassination await death on the gallows.  July 7, 1865. Library of Congress Collection

Towards the end of his life,
Brady said of his photographs,
"No one will ever know what they cost me.
Some of them almost cost me my life."

Charleston, S.C.  The Mills House, with adjacent ruins.  April 1865.
Library of Congress Collection.

He died in 1896, penniless and unappreciated.


Barry said...

Extremely evocative photos. No wonder Burns and Lincoln had such high praise for him.

Poetikat said...

Sounds to be the "Mozart" of the photography world.
I had never seen that photo of the executions. Wow!

This makes me want to spend some time with "The Civil War" again. I haven't seen it since we had it on video tapes back in the 80s. It really is brilliant and definitely would never have been the same without Brady's photos. The soundtrack is pretty amazing too!


Nana Jo said...

Thank you for this interesting series of photos. I had never heard of Matthew Brady but now I want to read his story and look at his photographs. So many great artists died unappreciated. It seems sometimes it takes many years before the gifts these artists gave can be fully realised.

Tattered and Lost said...

Like so many people, he is far more valued now than when he was alive. And unlike most people he has left a legacy most of us will never attain. We have grown almost immune to the horrors of war and war photographs are rarely studied. We flip past them and onto the next image. There's always the next image.

willow said...

Ken Burns' Civil War is just amazing, yes, thanks to Mathew Brady's fabulous images.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Wonderful reminders of this history....I love all of Ken Burns work and Brady's did good in this research

Christine H. said...

We have a lot to thank Brady for. I'm also grateful to the Library of Congress for allowing access to the collection.

Nancy said...

These photographs are amazing for the detail we can see. I find the first one a very poignant reminder that war and nearness to the battlefield touched not only soldiers but also some of their families who travelled along with them during the Civil War. Thanks for finding and sharing these.

L. D. Burgus said...

I am glad I didn't miss this. It is astonishing. He photographs would have been great for Ken Burns as he would start in on a very close shot and move out as if you were actually in the scene. You have a great connection. I will have a different thought now when I see these kinds of shots, looking to see who took them.