Civil War Photography
Print Civil War Photography Reading Comprehension
||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 7 to 8
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||tintype, darkroom, best, bankrupt, photography, penniless, reality, remembrance, studio, battlefield, actual, market, unknown, public, trade, solution
||Civil War, Mathew B., New York City, Samuel Morse, United States, Tim O'Sullivan, United States Congress
Civil War Photography
By Mary L. Bushong
1 Do you have a photo album? They are common now, and most people have some kind of camera. Perhaps you have a camera of your own, or even a digital camera. You probably find it easy to take your own pictures. It was not always that way. During the Civil War it was still a very complicated process known only to a few.
2 Perhaps the best known of the early photographers was Mathew B. Brady. He arrived in New York City when he was 16 and worked as store clerk. In his spare time, he studied photography under Samuel Morse, the inventor of Morse code and the man who introduced photography to the United States. Brady found he had a natural talent for it. It was not long before he had his own photography studio.
3 At the highest point of his career, he became interested in taking pictures of Civil War action. He did not want to just go and take some snap shots, he wanted to document as much of it as possible.
4 In order to do this, Brady enlisted many young photographers as apprentices. Since they were working for him, he got credit for all of the pictures they took. The men would often work in pairs, driving a two-horse enclosed wagon. The men would arrive at an army camp and start to work. They did not just take pictures; they also had to process their own work right there.
5 One man would mix the chemicals and pour them on a glass plate. When it was dry, it would be coated in a special solution to make it light sensitive. This had to be done in complete darkness. This plate would then be put into the back of the camera, which was set up by the second man. After the picture was taken, the plate was rushed back to the wagon's darkroom to be processed.
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