Although he is known for capturing a variety of historically significant events with a camera, Alexander Gardner is most remembered for his Civil War photography. At the start of the war, there were very few photographers who took portraits of soldiers before they left for the battlefield, so his services were in high demand. And, for a time, this is what he did. However, it wasn't long before he was tasked with taking his skills to the field, where he staged American Civil War photos – a fact that went uncovered for over a century.
The Battle of Antietam really boosted Alexander Gardner's Civil War photography. His images made a huge impact on those who had not seen the ravages of war firsthand, introducing them to the horrors of the battlefield. Following the Battle of Gettysburg, the Civil War staged photo became part of his repertoire. Gardner wasn't trying to deceive the American public with his fake photographs, though he knew the public had a hunger for sensational images; he was trying to educate them. As a result, he moved bodies, added props, and and made minor adjustments to make the battlefield scenes more compelling. Moreover, in Gardner's defense, he wasn't the first war photographer to stage corpses on the battlefield. The first-ever war photographer to capture images of corpses, Felice Beato, started that grand old tradition himself.
Alexander Gardner Got His Start As The First Photographer To Photograph Dead American Soldiers During The Civil War
Gardner Would Move Corpses To Get A Better Shot
Gardner Manipulated His Famous Photos Of Gettysburg Sharpshooters To Give Them Greater Impact
The Truth Was Hidden For 100 Years
Gardner Included Intriguing Details When Captioning His Staged Photos
A Historian Noticed The Same Dead Man Was Featured In Several Different Locations In Gettysburg