I am discovering how easy it is to take a photo and how exquisitely difficult it is to capture the precise shot one sees in her mind. After the wrong-camera fiasco, I found a fun little Nikon that encourages me to point and click with abandon. But whether or not the mood of or story in what I am seeing gets digitally recorded is still up for grabs.
Which is why I love this video story from the Smithsonian: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/video/Mathew-Bradys-Vision.html
It tells us a bit of what was going on in the brain of Mathew Brady, our nation’s first photojournalist. His photo accounts of Civil War battlefields told the story without the glory, and is credited, at some level, with shaping public opinion about its true cost. Brady also captured portraits of some of the most famous people of his time, including President Abraham Lincoln. It’s a Brady shot that’s the basis of the stamp shown above.
It seems appropriate to single out a Lincoln image given that it was on this day in 1865 that the president was assassinated. Just five days earlier, General Robert E. Lee had surrendered to the Union army.
I’ve been struggling with my feelings over the Civil War commemoration this year, the 150th anniversary of its beginning. In my mind, not marking it is a mistake. So is celebrating it. So I look at the before/after images of the destruction of Charleston and remember walking the exquisite parks of Savannah–saved from burning as a Christmas gift, so the legend goes–and try to see what lessons are there for me to learn.
Because we all encounter potential battle lines on a daily basis. Being able to picture the outcomes of our choices seems like a good skill to develop.