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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Incidents of War. A Harvest of Death

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Timothy H. O'Sullivan, INCIDENTS OF WAR. A HARVEST OF DEATH, GETTYSBURG, JULY, 1863 (1863). Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Creator Timothy H. O'Sullivan
Context Photography had become advanced enough by the Civil War so that photographers could record still scenes after battles.
Audience The general Northern public; often viewed as traveling exhibits
Purpose To depict the aftermath of battles (Gettysburg and Antietam)

Historical Significance

Photography was invented two decades before the Civil War began, but it was still a laborious and delicate process. The bulky cameras of the day required long exposure times (five seconds) and, therefore, could not capture movement. The conflict's duration and scope, and the growth of reporting contributed to a boom in photography.

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