Civil War Photography

I just completed a class on Civil War Photography for the SAIL program at Collin College.

The first class presented the following topics:

  • In 1837 the first successful photographs was created by the daguerreotype process
  • The technology of wet plate photography used the reaction of silver oxides
  • Photographers took over a million ambrotypes (glass) and tintypes (metal)
  • The carte de visite (cdv) process used a glass, wet-plate negative that allowed for unlimited copies to be made on albumen paper
  • Stereographs were 3-D photographs taken with a twin-lens camera
  • Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and Timothy O’Sullivan were the most famous Civil War photographers

Please see Civil War Photography – Class One (pdf)

In the second class, we examined the range of topics and subjects photographed from soldiers to presidents. We also viewed 3-D photographs.

Dead_Soldier

Class_with_glasses

The following links feature images from the Civil War.

Please see Civil War Photography – Class Two (pdf)

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About Allen Mesch

Allen is a author, educator, and historian. He has written four books: The Analyst; Teacher of Civil War Generals; Your Affectionate Father, Charles F. Smith; and Charles A. Marvin - "One Year. Six Months, and Eleven Days". He teaches classes on the American Civil War at Collin College. He has visited more than 130 Civil War sites and shares his over 4,000 photographs on Civil-War-Journeys.org. He blogs about the Civil War on Salient Points.
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