By J. Marwil
This booklet examines the social and cultural outcomes of a struggle often checked out for its position within the tale of Italian unification--the convergence of French, Austrian, and Piedmont-Sardinian armies in northern Italy in 1859, pointed out in Italy because the “Second struggle for Independence.” In doing so it specializes in a sequence of people who visited those battlefields in the course of the struggle and within the years afterwards, coming all the way down to 1959. The response of those viewers to what they observed caused, between different responses, the taking of the 1st pictures of the lifeless of struggle, the set up of a brand new kind of conflict memorial, the construction of the foreign purple go, and, extra in general a brand new public awareness--thanks to the reporters who coated the war--of the horrors of the fashionable battlefield. certainly, this short clash jolted realization as might be no different ecu struggle among 1815 and 1914, and it did so in a number of the comparable methods because the nice warfare may.
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Brave words and brave acts sustained its appeal: “Come on men,” cried the French division commander, General Élie Forey, as the assault on Montebello began. ” They did and the village was soon theirs. The words of another French general, Georges Beuret, were even braver: “Soldiers, this is the village of Montebello; our fathers gained a victory here! Be worthy of them. Forward! ”19 Those words were also Beuret’s last. He was instantly killed by a bullet as his men advanced on the Austrians. 20 The artist solved the compositional problem of honoring a death while celebrating a victory by placing the general at the left of the image and his troops at the right.
4 Shortly after writing those words, Crookes received J. ’s letter. But were photographers willing to capture, and the public ready to view, images of the wounded and dead as they “actually” looked in war? Did they want to see men with bloated chests, severed limbs and heads, gaping abdominal wounds with viscera spilling out, and blood pooling and slicking the ground around them? There was no squeamishness about photographing the dead lying in their beds at home; in fact, deathbed photographs of the famous and obscure, including children, were common.
J. L. used his time in Ivrea to take photographs. Of what he does not say, probably because his main purpose was to test exposure times with the photographic process he primarily used, the collodion wet plate. Obtaining good results with this process was not easy. One had to get the right balance of chemicals in the various stages as well as make a careful estimate of the available light. To his surprise, J. L. discovered that in the bright Italian sun his plates were underexposed, even after 12 seconds.