Mathew Brady and the Photographic Documentation of the Civil War

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Mathew Brady was the son of Irish immigrants who came to the United States in the late 1830's, later that year they became residents of Saratoga Springs, where they became acquainted with the artist, William Page. Page was a large influence on Brady's artistic lifestyle teaching him trades such as jewel making, case making, and painting. Page took Brady under his wing and they moved to New York where Brady met Samuel F.B. Morse an artist who instructed Page in earlier days. Morse began the new art of photography, which his friend Daguerre from Europe had just began. Therefore, the young Brady began his love for photography through Morse. Brady began to study the standards of this new and exciting art form. It took Brady several years to acquire the skill needed to take off in to the world and business of daguerreotype. Yet, in 1844 his professional photographer career began.

Mathew was a respected photographer before even the thought of a civil war. He was very devoted to his work with the photographs. Many people did not consider photography an art form at the time in which Brady practiced it and therefore he tried extremely had to earn the respect he did. Mathew had many photography subjects before the war. Brady was a well-known photographer of portraits. Brady's mastery of technical details is part of the reason his name is still remembered today.

Mathew Brady was originally discouraged from photographing the civil war because of the danger that lie in the battlefields. Yet, the already famous Brady chose to photograph the civil war anyway. With the permission of President Lincoln in 1861, he began to organize a photography staff. This included members to mix chemicals, members to photograph the war and others to transport the supplies. Brady started first at the Army Union Camp. Brady traveled around and began to photograph the pre battles the battles themselves and the aftermath of the brother against brother war with is staff.
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