New Exhibition to Open at the Library of Congress: Photo Collection from the Civil War
April 12, 2011-August 13, 2011
The U.S. Library of Congress is featuring a new exhibit called “The Last Full Measure: Civil War Photographs from the Liljenquist Family Collection” that opens April 12th. The link has a great preview of the types of images that will be on display.
One of the amazing aspects of the American Civil War is that it was the first conflict where photographers were present. Photography has since emerged as an art in its own right, but in the 1860s, photography was very much a science, too. Photographers made their own plates, plus processed their own solvents and developing chemicals.
In an era of instant digital picture-taking and Photoshop, where people can have 3-D ultrasound images of their babies in utero, getting your photo taken in the 1860s was a big deal. Even as late as World War I, many people only owned one or two photos of themselves. Just sitting for a photo was an involved process – to expose the negative required subjects to remain still for 22 seconds!
This new exhibition will feature 379 Civil War-era ambrotypes and tintypes of enlisted Union and Confederate soldiers.