Monday, June 7, 2010

From Robert Fenton to Robert Capa

After reading about some photos works of Fenton, Brady, Gardner and Capa, we find some similarities and differences.

  • They were photographers of war.
  • All of four photographers had played very  important roles on  the history of art and photography.
    They had contributed their works to show people how cruel the war was.
  • Gardner and  Brady’s photographs had similar style. I think one of reasons is that Gardner have worked for Brady for several years.
  • Fenton,  Gardner, and  Brady had a similar style of photography, while Capa's was different from them.
  • All of the photographers were photojournalists of war, however, Gardner, Fenton and Brady focued more on a rosy future, they missed the detail of the war. Capa showed the true war to us.
  • Similar with Capa, Brady had taken many photographs of dead soldiers. However, Capa was closer to the war and he exposed the real face of the war.
  • Gardner and Brady just took photos about those horrible scenes on the postwar, while Capa was different, he distrituted himself into the war. So his photographys were more real.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Robert Capa

Robert Capa who is famous for war's photographer in th twenty century. Robert was born in 1913, Pest-Buda, Hungary. When he was 17, he made up his mind to become a great photographer. After graduating from university of Berlin, he worked as a journalist in Paris. Because of his outstanding at workng, he was appointed to battleground.

In 1936, Capa took a photo about a soldoer who was shot and about to falling to the ground in the Spanish civil war. This picture was first published in French magazine Vu. Meanwhile, there was another photo showed the similar information as Capa's picture. Although Capa's picture has become disputable, there is no doubt that his picture falling soldier is lively and expose how cruel the war is.

He hated war, in order to against the war, he devoted himself in catching the real moment in the battle. He also published the photos to magazine so that exposed the war's real face. He had many times close to death, but he never afraid of dying. In the battle, he tried to approach as close as he could catch the picture in the war. However, he died in Vienamese war when he was 41.

When we look at his achievement and experience in the whole life, we have to be proud of him. He left his spirit that: Camera can not stop war but photograph can expose war and prevent war.

Mathew B. Brady

Mathew B. Brady (1822-1896)
        As most people know that Mathew Brady was very famous in Civil War which was the most cruel, most brutal, and most painful one in American history. He was born in Warren County, New York ,and he was the father of photojournalism. Also, he was not only the greatest American photo-historian of the 19th century, but also Abraham Lincoln's favorite photographer. In other words,nobody in the history of photography could claim to have taken more photographs of important historical personalities during the 19th century than Mathew Brady.
        Mathew Brady was the first people that dare to be engaged in taking photographs of the American Civil War. Mathew Brady ‘s mainly photographs was almost focused on Civil War. He took lots of photos about Civil War because he wanted to try his best to tell people and government the poor phenomenon of the Civil War ,and wars were cruel ,and also he wanted to appealed to peace at the same time. A Film maker--Ken Burns who is famous for his television series "The Civil War" (1990), said his Civil War series could not have been made if it were not for Mathew Brady's photographs.Therefore,Mathew Brady made a big contribution about revealing the terrible war. Most things can be showed from his photographs.Such as the photos below:

         That's impossible that Mathew Brady just took Civil War photographs , he also took lots of other photographs such as travelling photos , life photos . These photos also can showing the truth of different people's lives . More of a project manager, he spent most of his time supervising his corps of traveling photographers, preserving their negatives and buying others from private photographers freshly returned from the battlefield, so that his collection would be as comprehensive as possible. When photographs from his collection were published, whether printed by Brady or adapted as engravings in publications, they were credited "Photograph by Brady," although they were actually the work of many people. Therefore,Mathew Brady had an important impression on people not only the people in early years but also now people.

         Mathew Brady was devoted his life into photographs. He expressed his feeing ,his idea ,his belief thorough his photopgraphs. What was worse, Mathew Brady lived the last few months of his life in a rooming house with alone, sick, and destitute. At that time,he was left penniless and unappreciated even though he used his whole life to preserving and perpetuating the history of his country. Towards the end of Brady's life, he left the last words : "No one will ever know what they cost me; some of them almost cost me my life."

The resources related :

Features of Alexander Gardner's photographs

From Alexander Gardner's photographs, we can see the real condition of the country. For example, when he took photos about war, unlike Roger Fenton, he liked to show some horrible scene to express the consequences of war, such as the dead bodies are laying on the land, people are burying the dead soldiers when they become a pile of bones. All of these disgusting images reveal that Gardner feels resentful to the country at that time, and he wants to create a semi-socialistic colony.

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A Burial Party, Cold Harbor, Virginia

This photograph was taken by Jone Reekie, and printed by Alexander Gardner, it shows a horrible sense after the War. Some black men were burying the dead soldiers who have alreay become a pile of bones. A white man standing  nonchalant and supervising their work. The man who was seating in the middle looked toward the camera, from his expression; it seemed nothing can release his apprehension. This is a dirdful scene, it shows what wars bring to people, also, it present how paidful the photographer felt at that moment when he saw this horrible scene. During this war, almost sixty thousand Union soldiers were dead or injured.

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About Alexander Gardner

Alexander Gardner was born in 1821. He was a reporter and newspaper editor before he was a photographer. He desired to create a semi-socialistic colony in America when he was young, finally, he decided to send his families and friends to Iowa, but he never lived there. In 1856, Gardner and his family members moved to the United States, he stayed in New York, and he worked for Brady, eventually, he was managing Brady’s Washington, D.C, gallery until the American Civil War broke out in 1861. As Brady always occupied others’ photographs as himself, Gardner left his firm in 1862. In May 1863, Gardner and his brother James opened their own studio in Washington, D.C.
During the Army of the Potomac, Gardner was a chief army photographer, so three-quarters of the campaign pictures were taken by him. In 1866, he published the first collection of Civil War pictures, Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War. Gardner worked more than one hundred photographs and he also got some helpers, including Timothy O’Sullivan and John Reekie. After the war was over, Gardner started his journey and photographing along the way.

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