The Civil War and American Art- May 27–September 2, 2013-Metropolitan Museum of Art
Photo: Private Gid White, Company F, 108th Regiment, U.S. Colored Infantry, 1865-
Throughout the four-year war, photography studios in the North and the South accommodated a wounded populace seeking solace and an escape from the psychic threat caused by the turmoil of the times and the instability of the culture. What is uncertain is whether the desire to sit for a portrait was driven primarily by the hope that the little photograph might help the subject and family survive the war or by the fear that the sitters and their relatives would not live through the next battle. Regardless, the belief in the power of the photographic image during this period is astounding and comes across in the faces of privates and officers alike, Confederates and Unionists, men and women.