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HomeContents > People > Photographers > George N. Barnard

Joint: Barnard & Gibson 
Joint: Mathew Brady's Studio 
Dates:  1819 - 1902
Born:  US, CT
Died:  US, NY
Active:  US
American photographer remembered for his images of the American Civil War. Prior to these events he took a remarkable Daguerreotype of a fire at the Oswego Mills in New York (5 July 1853) - this image, now housed at George Eastman House, is one of the first of a catastrophe actually taking place.

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Further research

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Exhibitions on this website

Theme: War
ThumbnailGardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War (1866) 
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ThumbnailAmerican Civil War (1861-1865) 
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Visual indexes

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Supplemental information


George Barnard
American, 1819-1902

George Barnard was born in New York in 1819. He worked as a news photographer and as Mathew Brady's assistant in New York City prior to the Civil War. In 1862 he became the official photographer for the army of General Sherman. Due to the complex collodion wet-plate process of the time though, Barnard could not photograph the actual battles, so instead he took photographs of the devastation after the combat and of other aspects of the war such as famous battle sites, bridges and railroads. Barnard also documented General Sherman's famous "March to the Sea", which produced a series of prints 10 x 14, sixty-one of which were published in Plates from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign in 1866. Barnard also created several images of the war with James F. Gibson which were later published in Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War. Today Barnard's images are an important part of American history.
[Contributed by Lee Gallery] 

Internet biographies

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Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online ( has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
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The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA has a biography on this photographer. [Scroll down the page on this website as the biography may not be immediately visible.]Show on this siteGo to website

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.54 
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.78-79 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.240 
• Newhall, Beaumont 1982 The History of Photography - Fifth Edition (London: Secker & Warburg) [One or more photographs by George N. Barnard are included in this classic history.] 
• Szarkowski, John 1973 Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art (New York: The Museum of Modern Art) p.28 [Analyzes a single photograph by George N. Barnard.] 


Photographic collections are a useful means of examining large numbers of photographs by a single photographer on-line. 

In the 1990 survey of 535 American photographic collections George N. Barnard was represented in 51 of the collections. Source: Andrew H. Eskind & Greg Drake (eds.) 1990 Index to American Photographic Collections [Second Enlarged Edition] (Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall & Co.) 
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