Synopsis by Steve Blackburn
Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niepce made the first photograph in 1826, and Americans quickly took to the new technology, with photographers such as Matthew Brady, who made improvements and created a huge demand for photographs. The British photographer Eadweard Muybridge did his most important work in the United States, ultimately creating a primitive version of motion pictures. As this documentary reveals, photography, initially seen as a tool to help painters, quickly became a way to record history, to communicate news, and to influence public opinion. Brady's photographs of the Civil War dead brought the reality of war home to Americans who had never seen a battlefield. This is the ninth installment in the 13-volume American Documents documentary series, which presents United States history in an entertaining, yet well-researched manner. Highlights of this program include archival daguerreotypes and photographs. The episode is hosted by famed motion picture director Gordon Parks, who helmed The Learning Tree and the original Shaft.
communication, photography, public-opinion