food for thought

Mathew Brady c1861

Toronto. During the US civil war, Mathew Brady became famous for his battle field wet plate photography. The process demanded that the plate be sensitized, exposed and processed while still wet or its sensitivity would disappear like the morning mist as the sun rises. And the process was too slow to take any action shots at all.

Nearly a century later, an American Insurance CompanyJohn Hancock – promoted this ad in a 1954 LIFE magazine issue. We all know the battle field scenes Brady shot were monumental commercial disasters leading to his ruin and bankruptcy, but did the other things happen to Brady? Is the painting the least bit authentic or was lots of editorial licence taken? Let me know.

Who knows for sure today? Anybody? In any case a thanks to George Dunbar for unearthing this interesting advertisement.

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