According to one photography book that I read (sorry, don't recall which one) Matthew Brady actually took few, if any, of the Civil War photographs attributed to him. He supposedly owned a studio and hired other photographers to take the photographs in the field, which were sold by Brady in his studio. I think that since the photographers worked for Brady, the photographs were owned by him and bore his name.
As I understand it, by the time of the Civil War Brady's weak eyesight greatly limited what he was able to do personally—another reason why the work was farmed out to photographers working for him.
Charles, As I said before, Brady was losing his eyesight during the time of the war but that wasn't the main reason for farming out the work. He could still take photographs himself but you have to realize that he had probably over 50 photographers working for him in order to cover the various battles going on. Because he wasn't privy to much military intelligence this meant having teams of photographers following the different armies at all times. He spent most of his time coordinating the movements and the work of "The Brady Corps" Not only was he gathering work from the photographers in his employ he also bought work from many local photographers that were present during and after the battles. He could have never developed a body of work this size if he had tried to do this on his own. It was just to bad for him that the public had no interest in reliving the war over again in his photos and what he envisioned as an opportunity to make a profit turned out to leave him broke. He died a penniless drunk.
Well, Alexander Gardner, who had to play second fiddle to Brady for much of his career, outlived Brady and died a rich man. Brady lost out by gambling too much on his war photos. Gardner's DC studio still exists, as a matter of fact, although it is now occupied by a lawyers' association. You can still see the giant skylight facing north in the roof of the building.
Yes but was'nt most of the recognition that Gardner got during his own lifetime more related to his photo's the west?
I do think he is one of the most under rated photographers of all time and to this day remains under the shadow of Brady
Gardner was Brady's studio manager in DC until 1862, when they split, reputedly over a Brady's habit of attributing authorship of his assistant's work to himself, especially the battlefield photos. Gardner was the official staff photographer for Maclellan's army, and photographed at Antietam. After the war he travelled out west with the US Geologic Survey, surveying the route of the Kansas Pacific railroad. He closed his studio in 1871, and founded an insurance company. From the best of my understanding, he was most famous for A: his Lincoln portraits, including the last photos taken of Lincoln before his assassination, B: Antietam, and C: being the only photographer allowed at the execution of the Lincoln conspirators.
Gardner's most famous shot was probably, " Death of a Rebel Sharpshooter". And what's so cool about it is the rifle in the shot was a prop that Gardner carried, its not even a rebel rifle. Some claim that he even went as far as to drag a body to that location to set up the shot. So I guess Gardner could be considered one of the first pictorialist. I know I like his work better than I do Brady's.. at least Brady's later wet plate collodion work. Brady's early work when he was still doing dags was quite good. Robert
A number of Kodak people were into Civil War reenactment and had a "regiment" that would go to Gettysburg for meetings. They were used in the movie "Gettysburg" as part of the Union forces. Similar people from the South represented the Confederate forces.
A friend of mine was in the movie and told me of his work.