BARNARD, George N. (1819-1902)
Whiteside Valley below the bridge [manuscript caption]
[1864-1866]. Mounted albumen photograph on contemporary card mount. Manuscript caption beneath the image. Image size (including text): 10 1/2 x 14 1/4 inches. Sheet size: 16 1/2 x 20 3/4 inches.
Large albumen photograph by George Barnard.
Barnard had worked as a photographer documenting the Civil War from about 1861, initially working for Mathew Brady and Edward Anthony, and then, from December 1863, for the Topographical Branch of the Department of Engineers, Army of the Cumberland, based in Nashville. Under the direction of Captain of Engineers Orlando M. Poe, Barnard ran the army's photographic operations. Bernard continued to work for the Union army until June 1865, recording a number of well-known locations, and taking part in Sherman's campaign, behind the front lines, taking photographs in his capacity as an official army photographer. In 1866, Barnard would publish his monumental Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign. "[It] is a remarkable work of great symbolic, historic, and artistic power. It is a result of a complex interweaving of Barnard's personal vision, nineteenth-century pictorial conventions, and larger ideas about war and the American landscape. The album was the most ambitious project of Barnard's career, and has long been recognized as a landmark in the history of photography" (Davis p.170). Indeed, the work has been called the first great landscape photobook. The above image would appear as an illustration within Barnard's Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, though the present image was printed from the original glass plate negative prior to the publication of Barnard's book. This earlier printing displays a slightly greater plate area and without the images of clouds superimposed into the sky.
Keith F. Davis. George N. Barnard Photographer of Sherman's Campaign (Kansas City, 1990).