A Shooting War

The first forays into battlefield photography were made during the American Civil War by a team led by Matthew Brady from New York who by publishing these photographs brought the horrors of battle to the public for the first time. The whole project wasfunded by Brady himself but his hope that the army would purchase the photographs for a historical archive came to nothing and he ultimately died penniless. His legacy though, the largest collection of photographs of the American Civil War survive and this helps in the understanding of the conflict. On May 28, 1917, the headquarters contingent of the American Expeditionary Force under the command of Gen Pershing boarded the steamship Baltic and departed the US destined for France. Among the passengers was Lt Miller, thesignal corps photographic officer who, equipped with a movie and a stills camera, took the first pictures of the country’s involvement in World War One. It would be some months later when in July 1917 the Photographic Service within the US signal corps was established and was charged with the responsibility of all army still and motion picture photography.

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