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Thread: "Combat" photography pioneers

  1. #1
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    Default US Civil War's most dramatic photographs

    I remember reading about the US Civil War being the "first photographed armed conflict" in history. Indeed there a lot of interesting, dramatic and also shocking pictures around.
    I'm going to start this thread with two that burned into my memory:

    Antietam/MD, 1862: Fallen CSA soldier next to a Federal officer's grave.
    dab111..jpg

    The Battle of Fredericksburg, December 1862. Confederate casualties, rifles and gear at the stone wall below Marye's Heights after the fightings.
    dab160..jpg

    One request in advance , please don't mass-upload photos, leave time and space for possible discussions.
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

  2. #2
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    Default Re: US Civil War's most dramatic photographs

    I've never seen the top picture until now. The bottom picture always caught my attention also. If I remember correctly, they stood 3-4 men deep and fired while others reloaded, to have a mass effect on the advancing Union soldiers. I always wondered if the rifles were staged though, seeing as how valuable they were to the rebels.
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

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    Default Re: US Civil War's most dramatic photographs

    I am not real keen on Civil War battles but I do have one thick Civil War book full of photo's.I will scan some as time goes by.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: US Civil War's most dramatic photographs

    Gettysburg:

    The site linked states that the below was a Confederate soldier blasted apart by a Union shell (most likely).


    Bodies bloating in the hot, July sun of southern Pennsylvania.


    One of the most famous Civil War photos in the States. The dead again festering in July 1863.
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    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 12-31-2011 at 08:41 AM. Reason: repost photo

  5. #5
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    Default Re: US Civil War's most dramatic photographs

    A heap of amputations await burial.Odd thing is only the foot with the shattered bones looks to be the worst.The others don't look all that bad."I believe the doctors kills more than they cure," an Alabama private said.

    amputees..jpg

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    Default Re: US Civil War's most dramatic photographs

    Quote Originally Posted by rudeerude View Post
    A heap of amputations await burial.Odd thing is only the foot with the shattered bones looks to be the worst.The others don't look all that bad."I believe the doctors kills more than they cure," an Alabama private said.

    amputees..jpg
    We don't know how long after amputation the photo was taken, but the upturned feet with black soles under the lower leg across the top of the picture could well be gangrenous. And amputation was about the only remedy for gangrene then.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: US Civil War's most dramatic photographs

    That's quite a picture the last one...

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    Default Re: US Civil War's most dramatic photographs

    Does anyone know if dramatic photos like the above were released to the public in their day, or did they only surface years later?



    What you do in life, echoes in eternity!!!

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    Default "Combat" photography pioneers

    Since this is a site and forum based on combat photography I thought it would be nice to have a thread dedicated to the photographers and the history of combat photography, hope you like the idea (if there is already a thread dealing with the same subject please feel free to delete this one and accept my apologies). So here it goes:


    The Beggining

    The first modern war correspondent to make public impact was the "The Times" correspondent in the Crimean War, William Howard Russell:

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    In his 1854 account of the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava he wrote in Victorian prose, 'They swept proudly past, glittering in the morning sun in all the pride and glory of war'. The end of his despatch abandons poetry and gives the exact count of men and beasts in the charge: 'Our loss, as far as it could be ascertained in killed, wounded and missing, at two o'clock today, was as follows: -Went into action 607, Returned from action 198, Loss 409.'

    In his footsteps followed the first "war photographer", Roger Fenton who took with him his mobile darkroom to Crimea, he could develop negatives within 10 minutes.

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    The problem was that Fenton's process of actually taking the pictures was so laborious that most of his portfolio from the Crimea is of landscapes and groups of men and civilians away from the combat itself. Nonetheless he gave his viewers an astonishing sense of immediacy, of being at the scene of action.

    Adapted from "The Hulton Getty Picture Collection: Camera in Conflict"

    If other members like the idea I will continue in the next few days, and feel free to contribute.

    Cheers,

    Neutral

  10. #10
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    Default Re: "Combat" photography pioneers

    Good topic.

    Could I suggest that it be widened to 'War photography' rather just 'Combat photography' as some of the most compelling images aren't combat images but the consequences of combat and other warlike activities?

    There are some images from the Mexican-American war of 1846-48 which pre-date the Crimea. http://www.theslideprojector.com/pho...1lecture4.html

    When one considers the damage cannon balls of the Crimean era could do as they swept through advancing forces, Fenton's image in the link above of the numerous spent cannon balls in the Valley of the Shadow of Death is frightening in its own way without one human figure in it.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: "Combat" photography pioneers

    Agree that it's a good thread topic. I've decided to fold an existing thread started by FTG in the Civil War forum into this one...

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    Default Re: US Civil War's most dramatic photographs

    Quote Originally Posted by VonWeyer View Post
    Does anyone know if dramatic photos like the above were released to the public in their day, or did they only surface years later?
    I'm 100% positive, but I believe the photos were available to the public in a limited form such as in books and perhaps a few more avant-garde newspapers as there was probably little in the way of military censorship. There was probably no way to mass distribute the photos as I doubt the more gruesome ones were widely published by the press...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: "Combat" photography pioneers

    From the U.S.-Mexican War site http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/mexican-war1.htm - a brigade of well dressed New Hampshire Militiamen in 1846:
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: US Civil War's most dramatic photographs

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    Bodies bloating in the hot, July sun of southern Pennsylvania.


    One of the most famous Civil War photos in the States. The dead again festering in July 1863.
    I've seen that photo many times, but for the first time I have noticed that all of the readily visible bodies are lying on their backs, which is not the likely result of random battle deaths.

    Given the papers lying around, I'd guess that it was the usual post-battle turning out of bodies for papers and anything else of intelligence value, or just looting the dead, or a combination of all of the above.

    It reminds me of an Australian solder who'd served in hard places in New Guinea who said to me that one of the worst things was the turning over of the dead and the scattering of papers after the battle, with papers and photos which showed that the dead enemy were just the same as us in their own way with families etc.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: "Combat" photography pioneers

    One of the things I recall from Ken Burns excellent PBS documentary, is that men in this period shot by large caliber (.60 cal.?) would often tear through and ruffle their clothing while dying as the result of horror from suffering such large wounds and in an attempt to extract the ball...

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