Photography gave people a very different perspective on life. Perhaps more than anything, photography shocked people by showing the horrors of war. Previously, war had occurred largely out of sight and out of mind. It was easier to give a false patriotic view on the glories of war. For example, from the Crimean war, we get Tennyson’s famous ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’
‘Cannons to the left, Cannons to the right’
We didn’t get pictures of mutilated corpses.
It was the American civil war, where photography started to become influential. The very new technology became widely used. Firstly families wished to take a family photo before their son went off to combat. Secondly, images of dead bodies on battlefields showed the tragic consequences of civil war.
Other images, have become iconic memories. As the saying goes ‘A picture paints a thousand words’
Some memorable photos that changed the world.
The Dagueterre portrait
This is a photograph of Abraham Lincoln as a young lawyer in 1846. On its own, it is not particularly remarkable. But, it is hard to underestimate the importance of the development of practical photography which enabled ordinary people to take photos. The French inventor Louis Daguerre developed the modern camera by discovering a method for using plates and chemical reaction to create images. This reduced the exposure time for taking a photo. Over 1 million of his early Daguerre cameras were built. It meant that at the time of the American Civil War, many families were able to have a photograph taken of their loved ones – previously the only option was to employ an artist who would paint a person.
The Atomic Bomb
Hindenburg Burning 1937
The Great Depression
“Destitute pea pickers in California.” Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California.” – Source: Library of Congress
The human face of the Great Depression. See also: John Steinbeck who wrote about the great depression.
Fall of the Berlin Wall
Bombing of Guernica – 1937
The earth from the moon
A view of Earth rising above the lunar horizon photographed from the Apollo 10 Lunar Module, looking west in the direction of travel. (18-26 May 1969) NASA