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Does The Camera Ever Lie?
Detail from Quarters of photographers attached to Engineer Corps in front of Petersburg. Petersburg, Va. March 1865. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction number: LC-B8184-7347)

Photographers often want to communicate a thought or emotion with their work. Although the camera lens views the world impartially, the photographer constantly judges, deciding what to photograph and how to photograph it -- focusing on creating a strong image that will communicate the desired message. The words that accompany a photograph may also influence the way we "read" the picture.

The examples in this special presentation have been drawn from Alexander Gardner's 1865 Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War. They reveal that in order to achieve a more striking effect or to cater to the interest of the public, Gardner sometimes rearranged the elements in his photographs or departed from the facts in his writing.

The Case of Confused Identit
yThe Case of The Moved Body

Civil War Photographs Home Page

am May-27-98