The War that Nourished Photography by Raju Peddada

A face is more than just a face. It's a message board, that offers more than we can read. Or it can be a billboard, revealing the inner most condition. The face always conveys the compressed energy of life being experienced in a myriad details – that in retrospect, only a fecund imagination and acute sensitivity can correlate and coalesce.

[Author’s Preface: A face is more than just a face. It’s a message board, that offers more than we can read. Or it can be a billboard, revealing the inner most condition. The face always conveys the compressed energy of life being experienced in a myriad details – that in retrospect, only a fecund imagination and acute sensitivity can correlate and coalesce. The cryptic countenances divulge, ever so reluctantly, the same internal struggles that we experience daily, in our century. Our fundamental condition remains the same.]

“Portraits are the candle by which we read history” – Julian Cox, Author/Curator for High Museum of Art, Atlanta

“I have seized the light. I have arrested its flight” – Louis Daguerre, (1787-1851)

Civil War General John Buford & staff, by Mathew Brady, immediately after the battle of Gettysburg.

Missing in Action

In the late spring morning of 1862, Sam had just turned thirteen. Two yellow butterflies had flitted over his line of sight under the cobalt sky, as three roosters clucked and pecked at the dirt to his left, just as his eighteen year old brother, Tom, opened the gate, and started across their front yard – back from his enlistment, to bid his farewell. As he approached them, his younger brother and his mother, he kicked the pig out of the way, which flipped on its hind, recovered then scurried away in a cacophony of squeals, igniting Sam’s laughter. “Leave some girls for me, will ya?!” a parting ruffle of Sam’s buttery locks by Tom, as he shifted his attention to the bag of food, while avoiding his mother’s eyes. “Come back to us, Tom… my boy…” his mother said in a tremulous voice. “I will… please don’t make it difficult, mother…” That was the extent of their interaction. Then he was gone. Forever.

Sixty years later, in 1925, a tall man with the beard of a mountain trapper, stooped and grim, seventy-three, was hunting for something. He rummaged through a webbed, dusty and decrepit attic of an abandoned building at the edge of town, that once was used for a clandestine telegraph office and photo processing during the war. He swatted away the cobwebs with a newspaper to dig into the pine freight chest in the far corner by the window. He blew off the dust from an object with a flat surface on the top like an anxious archaeologist, when suddenly, a partial face emerged and stared at him with one eye, as if someone peeking from behind a curtain. Howard Carter would have been proud of his reaction. In a concentrated posture, mustering a patience nurtured over six decades of looking, he gently cleared the dust and peered at each photographic plate.

Some were Ambrotype negatives, some were Daguerreotypes, and some were fused. He peered closely at every plate like a seasoned genealogist, looking for triggers for his memory, and it took him to noon to descend to the bottom of the box. Abruptly, a shaft of light cleaved the room, like some omen, as if separating the past from the present with a marbling curtain of agitated dust. At the bottom, under an edition of the “Atlanta Intelligencer” dated May 21, 1864, lay another pile of Daguerreotypes, again, some fused. These were battlefield scenes, hours and days after the carnage. Photographs too dreadful for an exhibit or for the papers. Closeups of distended, decapitated and distorted bodies, beyond recognition, in the process of decomposition, with stray dogs, vultures, coyotes and crows rounding out the anxious diners. In a throbbing interior terror, the legend “Missing in Action” oscillated like a neon hammer in his brain, as he sifted each plate with trembling hands and peered at them closely. He was conscious of his hunt, and wanted it to continue – extend the denial.

Then came the photographs of pathetic negro crews with stretchers shuttling the remains – remains, nothing more than skeletons that had been picked clean, but with uniforms now as rags still buttoned at their nonexistent waists and chests. Then, he saw this plate. A skeleton, whose skull was turned towards the viewer, whose right hand, all bones, extended past the tattered sleeve, and dangled from the edge of the stretcher, being carried by two men. On that hand was an open-end bronze bracelet. The moment of recognition was the decapitation of his being. The braclet had started it’s generational journey on a girl’s wrist in 1698, in Scotland. It was the last thing his dad gave his older brother before vanishing. Stooped and shaking, he put the glass plate down, and in utter deflation, exhaled a repressed sixty year old sob.“Why can’t I be spared, why?” The man had lost his brother twice. No likeness remained of him, except a fading one in his mind, from when he was thirteen. He then picked up the glass plate and compressed it to his chest in a paroxysm of anguish, shattering the plate and shredding his ulnar artery – he died three hours later. A demolition crew found his remains, picked clean, thirteen months later.

The Greatest Generation

Over six-hundred thousand boys and men from the Industrial Revolution had perished, and more than a million such stories vanished altogether, replete with singular dramas, to a lesser or a greater extent. When I look at their faces, I can conjure up their loves, their disappointments, their labor, their trials and their triumphs – faces tell more than we could fathom or care for. And, they are in the form of Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes and Tintypes, during the entire span of the late industrial revolution in America. Ironically, most life altering discoveries and inventions came within twenty years after the war, and many modern weapon systems, still in use in the 21st century, had been invented during the war. Trauma was not allowed triumph, under any circumstance.

People suffered through unimaginable personal devastation, yet, they coped, survived and became the generation that gave us electricity, the light bulb, the telephone, the car, manned flight, photography, and the dignity of a working life. I cannot help, but think about the young “adults,” in the 21st century at our institutions of higher learning, that threw destructive tantrums and huddled and wept in safe spaces, some requiring psychotherapy, all because, the opposition had won the elections. What would the people of the late Industrial Revolution, who had fought the Civil War to rid us of Slavery and preserved the Union, then went to wring American exceptionalism, think about it. I would hazard to bet, that they would die in side-splitting laughter, like Sam did, when his brother had kicked that pig to his left.

Louis Daguerre. The original Daguerreotype was made by Charles Meade of New York, in 1848. This Daguerreotype now resides in the United States National Museum.

The Greatest Invention?

Of all the inventions of the 19th century, photography, the earliest of them, is probably the most underrated one. Daguerre’s invention of Tonal-Realism in 1833, actually took root in the United States after Samuel Morse, brought the apparatus and technique after his stay in Paris. He was instrumental in bringing two century altering inventions back from Paris, his own: the telegraph and it’s operating premise: the Morse Code, the second was the Daguerreotype process. Both these inventions and their processes brought applicable technology and immediacy to their communications: the realistic image and real time messaging. And, the Civil War was the event that fertilized both these inventions – both technologies came off age during that very American bloodbath.

The American Civil War (1861-65), was fought by the people of the late Industrial Revolution. It was the first large scale war that was recorded in its entirety, by photography. The war, ironically, nourished photography in unthinkable ways, enabling it to become a societal and industrial necessity by the end of the war. In the eras past, wars were depicted in illustration and paintings, often glorifying or romanticizing it – keeping the torn bodies, decapitations, and holes for faces at bay, in the illusions of glory. But, photography changed all that, it destroyed our denial and replaced it with our culpability. In fact the earliest exhibits in New York and D.C., the ones by Matthew Brady and Alexander Gardner, simply shocked audiences and fueled passionate sentiments against war. They soon learned that photography is the practice and art that debilitates the concept of deniability, by rendering the reality manifestly inexorable, implacable. This type of visual aftermath ushered in a new typology of trauma, a sort of PTSD for the viewer – images fetched extended contemplation, brooding, reliving, fear of the possibility of such unfathomable gore, and the depression that followed in its wake.

The rare Tintypes preserved and presented here from my collection, are, reversed postures, they are flipped, which is inherent to such plate development processes, and cannot be detected. While the glass plate sizes from the Daguerreotype or Ambrotype processes came in standard sizes, the Tintypes were cut out metal plates, sometimes cut in weird shapes and sizes, mostly within the postcard size – that appeared as anachronistic metallic Polaroids. After the war, big studios grew their business by sending hired photographers into the field, who plied their trade in distant rural settings, recording the nation as it grew out of its agrarian roots to planted steel buildings and bridges. While in the city, the studios indulged occasional celebrities, like Senators, society woman, and even presidents. Lincoln was the first iconic president to be regularly photographed. What these traveling photographers and their subjects left behind was a treasure trove of aesthetically charged photographic plates, in their melancholy patinas and distress, with portraits that took abuse for over a century-and-a- half, in the form of scrapers and coasters, and still told intriguing tales.

Finally, Why I Collect

I always experience chills and freeze, peering at these peculiar faces that talk to me. “I am no different than you are… same pursuit for happiness in dysfunctional relationships, hardships… headed for oblivion.” My friend, a Tintype expert, asked, “Do you know why they look so grim, like someone they knew was dead?” While I guessed he continued. “It took the photographer a long time to set the camera and flash, and by the time the photographer was ready, they had lost all their spontaneity, humor and turned somber, like in a funeral, in their black outfits.” Who were they? It was quite ironic that the folks on these plates, with their fleeting lives, were captured by some unknown photographer, who had confiscated their frolicking anonymity, replacing it with a punishing immortality no cares about.

Finally, there’s no such thing as an insignificant Daguerreotype, Ambrotype or a Tintype photograph. Every photograph of a person, from the early through the late 19th century America, represented a piece of the evolving national puzzle. Such photographs are indispensable shards of our national memory, our collective western heritage. These photographic processes were a powerful soliloquy on the progress of the medium itself. This is where reality got ossified into a metaphor, and the osmosis of photographic emulsion to blood, as a fact, as proof. These old distressed photographs transcend their own medium to become our meditation, on the universality of suffrage and the temporality of life itself. Look into their eyes, linger there for a while and see if you can make a friend, that would tell you a story. Your own story. [Copyright © Raju Peddada. All rights reserved on the Text and photographs.]

Louis Daguerre. The original Daguerreotype was made by Charles Meade of New York, in 1848. This Daguerreotype now resides in the United States National Museum.

Samuel Morse and his first Daguerreotype camera. The Camera is now in the possession of the United States National Museum. This photograph was made by A. Bogardus, New York, 1871.

Raju Peddada

Raju Peddada was born in India, and migrated to the United States in 1983. He is the founder and CEO for PEDDADA. COM since 1999, and also a producer/writer for Satyalu+Kristi Media, USA. He is a design provocateur, an originalist in design contemplation, who draws inspiration not from other designers, but from nature, history and literature. He has 22 Design Patents, and was also responsible for several critically acclaimed and sold out products launches to the high end luxury furnishings market. He has been editorially featured in scores of international culture-design magazines as the “Taste-maker,” in Interior Design, Clear, Dwell, Spaces, Domus, Abitare, Interni, Frame, Monitor, Objekt, Chicago, the Chicago Tribune, and Cable news. In addition he also is a freelance journalist, with over a 100 essays-articles- reviews in literary magazines like Swans.com, Bookforum, Spaces, and the NY Times. He is a photographer, who in the summer of 2017, released his exploratory thesis on “The Aesthetics of Ambiguity,” which essentially shifts the aesthetic paradigm, from the stillness aesthetic to that of ambiguity, in sensing the beauty of our movement and condition in the urban setting. Three photographic exhibits are in the offing. He is the author of four small books.

More Stories

Savoring Photography by Michael Bomberger

Savoring Photography by Michael Bomberger

A discussion over dinner a few weeks ago with a noted local artist about the nature of beauty and how humans perceive it took me back to my university lectures with Paul Weiss, a noted professor of metaphysics.
Spatial Relations by Shannon Randol

Spatial Relations by Shannon Randol

How the singular subject, viewer in the case of photography, is located in relation to other objects is referred to as spatial relation. Often happening subconsciously, ways in which objects respond to each other impacts the use(s) of a particular space.
A Himalayan Journey By Abhijit Bose

A Himalayan Journey By Abhijit Bose

The beauty of The Himalayan Region is its color and mood. I explored almost every season and made trips towards Terrain Region. It was a treat to my senses when I used to watch changes in color of a region just fifteen minutes away from another place getting washed in torrential rain. I realized nature as the biggest chameleon.

Nude Photography Awards

We invite you to participate in the first edition
of the Nude Photography Awards. We are looking
for the best nude picture for this year, 2022.

Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of nude photography.

DEADLINE | SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2022

PHOTO BY © OLIVIER VALSECCHI
Underwater by Mike Potts

Underwater by Mike Potts

Underwater project was selected and published in our print edition 22. I see the water as a metaphor for a dream medium and I try to meet my subjects on that boundary and hope that we are able to take the viewer from tranquil peace to a burst of creation and back again.
A Space Odyssey-style evolution by Sonia Payes

A Space Odyssey-style evolution by Sonia Payes

A Space Odyssey-style evolution, is Alchemy (2021), a collection of 14 vibrant chromogenic prints. Each one reiterates the same basic composition and design, with Ilana’s avatar recurring indomitably across two orderly rows. 
Turin; You Do Not See by Riccardo Surace

Turin; You Do Not See by Riccardo Surace

The project titled What You Do Not See, Unordinary tells the story of the City of Turin, my city, seen through the eyes of passersby. All photographs have been captured with a long exposure technique; in other words, I mixed then history of the city with my own history, my life experience. In fact, after five years spent fighting a disease, my artistic purpose is primarily that of representing the all too familiar feeling when, as a young man wandering through the city, one feels invisible, and yet still he is thoroughly involved in its daily frenzy.

Featured Stories

Portrait of the Aryans by Abhishek Nandy

Portrait of the Aryans by Abhishek Nandy

Beyond the rich heritage of monasteries, the spirit of Buddhism, the captivating Landscapes and the Indus, one specific facet of Ladakh which has always fascinated me is the legendary inhabitation of pure-blooded Aryans in this parts of the region.
Fine art photographs; Big Appetites by Christopher Boffoli

Fine art photographs; Big Appetites by Christopher Boffoli

Big Appetites (2003-present) is a a series of fine art photographs that features tiny, meticulously hand-painted figures photographed against real food environments.
The scars of war; Friendship Village by Kip Harris

The scars of war; Friendship Village by Kip Harris

The scars of war are deep and long lasting. That is particularly true of the Vietnam War. An entire generation along with their families, children, friends, and society
Intimidades by Guillermo Ignacio Rodríguez Lateulade

Intimidades by Guillermo Ignacio Rodríguez Lateulade

Intimidades is born from the spiritual claim about the hyper-sexualization of bodies and the subsequent trivialization of these by the, not so recent, vulgar vision of the cultural industry.
Stories Retold by Lukas Vasilikos

Stories Retold by Lukas Vasilikos

His influences from Henri Cartier-Bresson to André Kertész and from Garry Winogrand to Josef Koudelka and Roy De Carava, as well as from the great Greek photographers, older and contemporary such as Nikos Economopoulos, enrich the inspirations and form the photographic aesthetics of the new author.
Anja Matko ; String of life and other works

Anja Matko ; String of life and other works

Inspiration for this series she got from her own life and situations that was in at that moment. This series is about life, searching for the right path in your life, the obstacles you have to overcome to reach your goal.
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/nude-banner.jpg

We invite you to participate in the first edition of the Nude Photography Awards. Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of nude photography.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/BAnImage.jpg

ImageRights provides intelligent image search and copyright enforcement services to photo agencies and professional photographers worldwide.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/mono2022.jpg

The best 100 images along with the winning images published in the yearly book “Monochromatic – Best Photographers of 2022”

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/banner23.jpg

Call For Entries #23 | After 22 editions and more than 100 published photographers, our print edition has proven to be a simply effective promotional channel.

Vignettes of a salesman by Ole Marius Joergensen

Vignettes of a salesman by Ole Marius Joergensen

A lot of traditions are being lost as new technologies are invading our day-to-day world. The door-to-door salesman is a relic from the 50s.
Water towers of Luxembourg : A Pictographic Study by Gediminas Karbauskis

Water towers of Luxembourg : A Pictographic Study by Gediminas Karbauskis

Water towers are used to store and distribute water. They are found both in small towns and major cities. Luxembourg is no exception.
The ordinary by Lotta Lemetti

The ordinary by Lotta Lemetti

For me creating still life compositions is a form of self-exploration. The creating process is an intriguing and almost devotional journey through my mind. Through predilections in aesthetic decisions such as subject matter, color and composition the work reflects who I am, where I come from and what I have experienced.
We’re Happy Together by Gabriel Carpes

We’re Happy Together by Gabriel Carpes

In this series called “We’re Happy Together" Gabriel Carpes photographed his family in the years following his father's passing and his sisters moving away from their hometown of Porto Alegre to different parts of the country.
The state of emotional destruction; Bandage Portrait by Kai Nagayama

The state of emotional destruction; Bandage Portrait by Kai Nagayama

This series I named Bandage Portraits. It is meant to explore the state of emotional destruction and resilience. It is so easy to be ignorant to your own feelings even though you are aware of them.
Still Life – Mushrooms by Dale M. Reid

Still Life – Mushrooms by Dale M. Reid

Today my subject matter features floral, mushroom and pear studies. My mission is to capture and present a unique perspective that engages the viewer and embodies a concept or tells a story.

Trending Stories

Interview with Mustafa Hassona

Interview with Mustafa Hassona

My passion of photography comes after I worked as an outlet of a local newspaper where I was working in choosing the photos that will be printed in the newspaper, then I decided to work as photographer,
Fantasy is my drug – Chiara Fersini

Fantasy is my drug – Chiara Fersini

Fantasy is my drug. The world today is so grey and sad, and fantasy is the only thing that makes me see something different and good. It can also make people more optimistic. How could the world have evolved without fantasy?
Idomeni by Dimitris Rapakousis

Idomeni by Dimitris Rapakousis

The old name of Idomeni was Sehovo. It is located on the border with Macedonia and it is the last village of the "Greek railway tracks.
Conceptual photography; Paradise Island by Alice de Kruijs

Conceptual photography; Paradise Island by Alice de Kruijs

Due to colonial neglect and historical isolation, the Pacific Islands, home to the world's most diverse range of indigenous cultures, continue to sustain many ancestral life-ways.
As tu vu ma soeur jumelle? by Olympe Tits

As tu vu ma soeur jumelle? by Olympe Tits

Have you seen my twin sister? So often I’ve pondered upon this question during my childhood years. For so long I believed I lost her in cod death or that she died in the womb.
After the Inferno by Debarchan Chatterjee

After the Inferno by Debarchan Chatterjee

After the incident of Stephen court and New market, the shopping marts of the city of Kolkata is yet to learn its lesson as yet another inferno hits a 6 – storeyed wholesale market on busy Canning street area of the city.
From the ordinary daily flow; SurReally by Nico Chiapperini

From the ordinary daily flow; SurReally by Nico Chiapperini

My mum was a teacher in a primary school. I was eight years old when I went with her on a school trip to a Jurassic Park for children. There I took some pictures of fake dinosaurs with my father’s SLR. It was my first time and I used two rolls of film.
Life in the monastery ; Bagan by Aga Szydlik

Life in the monastery ; Bagan by Aga Szydlik

Myanmar (Burma) is predominantly a Buddhist country, with 90% of the population practising Buddhism or embracing a monastic lifestyle.
Black & White; Street photography by Cenk Bayirli

Black & White; Street photography by Cenk Bayirli

Born in 1976 in Istanbul/Turkey, Cenk Bayirli is a passionate amateur spirited photographer specialized in  black and white photography.

Other Stories

stay in touch
Join our mailing list and we'll keep you up to date with all the latest stories, opportunities, calls and more.
We use Sendinblue as our marketing platform. By Clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Sendinblue for processing in accordance with their terms of use
We’d love to
Thank you for subscribing!
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted.
- Between 10/30 images of your best images, in case your project contains a greater number of images which are part of the same indivisible body of work will also be accepted. You must send the images in jpg format to 1200px and 72dpi and quality 9. (No borders or watermarks)
- A short biography along with your photograph. (It must be written in the third person)
- Title and full text of the project with a minimum length of 300 words. (Texts with lesser number of words will not be accepted)
This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Contact
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted. This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation.
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Get in Touch
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.