The Battle of Antietam and Mathew Brady's Legacy
Brady's big break came in 1862, when he opened an exhibition titled The Dead of Antietam. These graphic images, which showed bodies strewn across the battle field at Antietam were a shock to the American public. Previously, images of war had been limited to artistic renderings. Instead, Brady's photographs showed the graphic reality of the American Civil War.
The New York Times stated in an October 1862 article, “Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our door-yards and along the streets, he has done something very like it…”
Brady's haunting imagery was a stark reminder that the casualties of war were very real. Today, in a time where photojournalists often enter the war zone, the contemporary public has perhaps become numb to war imagery. But it's important to remember that this professional is partially built on Brady's legacy.
Thanks to the U.S. National Archives, which has uploaded over 6,000 of Brady's images to Flickr, we're able to gain even further insight into the riches of his Civil War Photography.