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In “Mathew Brady,” Robert Wilson demonstrates that Brady was the most important photographer in 19th-century America, establishing photographs as things of value, contributing to the culture of celebrity, arguing for photography as an art form, and creating a stunning national archive.
Brady’s greatest claims to fame were his photographs of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War battlefield pictures he and his team took at the First Battle of Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Petersburg. Their most dramatic impact, Wilson suggests, was probably not felt until the war was over.