Alexander Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the Civil War

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PDF to read for Homework:

How to read a photograph

  1. What do you see? Take stock of all of the elements of the image (Write Down)
  2. What patterns do you notice? Are there repeated shapes?
  3. Is there a hierarchy to the image? Are some figures privileged over others in the image? What objects of figures seem most important, and how does the image make them seem so?
  4. What interpretations can you make of the patterns and the hierarchies? WHY does the image present its information that way? What does it mean?
  5. Does the image suggest an Emancipationist or Reconciliationist vision for America?

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