Friday, August 11, 2017

Why Did Alexander Gardner Move Soldiers' Bodies For His Civil War Photographs?

From the December 2014, Smithsonian "Ask Smithsonian."  Question from Charlie Ian of Los Angeles, California.

Gardner was seeking to create dramatic tableau of the aftermath of battle.

The best known of his "manipulations" was the so-called Rebel sharpshooter at Devil's Den at Gettysburg, for which he moved an ordinary soldier's corpse some distance to a nook in the rocks to give him the status of a sharpshooter.

In effect, he created a narrative about an individual; it was his way of coping with the mass, anonymous casualties of modern warfare.

Now,we justifiably deplore this as an affront to historical fact.

David G. Ward, senior historian, National Portrait Gallery.

--Old Secesh

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