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late 1860s
The Martyr Lincoln
Following the assassination of Lincoln, the Army didn't allow any pictures to be taken of him in his casket. Therefore, con artists stepped in to fill the demand. This image was one of many that circulated purporting to show the dead President, but it's fake. It shows a man lying down, probably only pretending to be dead. But that man is not Lincoln.
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Late 1860s
Lincoln’s Portrait
This standing portrait of Lincoln was created soon after the American Civil War. It hung in many classrooms, but Lincoln never posed for it. An unknown entrepreneur created it by cutting-and-pasting a headshot of Lincoln onto a portrait of the Southern leader John Calhoun. This was done because there were hardly any appropriate "heroic-style" portraits of Lincoln made during his life.
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May 1865
Petticoat Politics
A Northern photographer created this image of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in a dress.
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Taken in 1863. Exposed as a fake in 1961.
A Sharpshooter’s Last Sleep
Civil War photographers used a corpse as a movable prop.
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1861-1879
Mumler’s Spirit Photos
Image created by William Mumler, 1872. "Bronson Murray in a Trance with the Spirit of Ella Bonner." Mumler created the genre of the spirit photo: ghostly images supposedly caught on film.
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March or April 1858
Interior of the Secundra Bagh
Human bones were disinterred and scattered around to recreate the aftermath of a battle.
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1857
Street Urchins Tossing Chestnuts
This may look like a real-life scene caught by the camera, but in fact is staged. Cameras were too slow in the 1850s to record something as quick-moving as a tossed chestnut. So Oscar Rejlander suspended a chestnut in mid-air with a piece of fine thread in order to create the scene.
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April 23, 1855
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
Roger Fenton took this photo while documenting the Crimean War for the British government. This image, considered a masterpiece of war photography, shows a simple, but haunting view of a cannonball-strewn road near Sevastopol. But in 1981 historian Mark Haworth-Booth determined that Fenton probably staged this scene, moving cannonballs from the ditch onto the road in order to create a more dramatic image.
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1840
Portrait of the Photographer as a Drowned Man
Louis Daguerre was the first to patent a photographic process. But Hippolyte Bayard had independently invented a rival photographic process known as direct positive printing, and had done so as early as Daguerre, but his invention didn't earn him fame and riches. Frustrated, he created a photograph to express his feelings, showing himself pretending to be a suicide victim.
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