I recently read an article for Nashville Art Magazine by John Guider that highlights an exhibit done by the Tennessee State Museum titled Discovering the Civil War, presented by the National Archive. The exhibition contains photos and documents from the Civil War including much of the work done by war photographer Mathew Brady. War photography had become prominent for about twenty years before the Civil War as a means for representing the pain and gore of the war.
Brady started as a portrait painter but quickly began taking photographs of prominent individuals. Lincoln was a huge break for Brady because of Lincolns drive to use photography in the media. This has apparently grown into one of the number ones means for information in our times today. Photography became a means for remembrance in the war. Soldiers would keep photographs to represent themselves for whom they are. Demand for photography grew.
Overall Brady spent $100,000 of his money to bring the public the horrific photos of war. It is clear that to Brady the importance of bringing awareness of this pain is critical to him and his practice. He had a passion, which many war photographers seem to lack probably due to the restrictions that are put on them. Brady is an important figure in not only war photography but in photography and the importance of it in general.