Photograph Analysis Tool
The Civil War was one of the first military conflicts covered by journalists and photographers. Because wet-plate glass negatives required from 5 to 20 seconds exposure, there are no action photographs of the war. One of the most famous Civil War photographers was Mathew B. Brady. While he actually may have taken only a few photographs of the war, he employed many of the other well-known photographers including Alexander Gardner during the conflict.
Since Mathew Brady had a photography studio in Washington, he and other photographers often visited Arlington to take photographs of the Union soldiers and their camps. These historic images provide a visual legacy of Arlington’s role during the war.
Today, historians use photographs as a primary source to study the war. They examine these images for clues about who was there, what equipment was used, what the landscape was like, and even how people behaved. Thanks to the Library of Congress and other organizations, thousands of these images are now available online.
Analyzing a Photograph
You can learn how to analyze photographs by: