Professor Janae Dimick
H. Bruce Franklin “ The From Realism to Virtual Reality: Images of America’s Wars “
Franklin developed an excellent essay in which he addresses the evolution of technologies used in fighting American wars as well as the media’s presentation of the war to the American public. He emphasizes most of his essay on the media’s presentation of the war, the methods that it has evolved to, and its biases and lies. Franklin discusses how projections of the war were romanticized at first since the only fashion to express the war was by paintings. However when videos and photographs were invented, the images of war were deglamorized. As a result, these images displayed more truth than the earlier romanticized paintings of old wars. Sadly though, not all the wars were truthfully projected as the Civil War because the American government was manipulating that technology to their favor in order to portray a victory for their country rather than a failure. Painters greatly manipulated what they painted in their portraits since they wanted to project a specific feeling or meaning to their observers. As a result, paintings of wars before the Civil War had plenty of romanticisms in them since those paintings excluded a great deal of the violence, bloodshed, and tremendous body count. The painters always showed the victorious or heroic scenes in their paintings, thus the true images of the war were not painted or expressed properly in the portraits. On the other hand, photography definitely changed the media because the photographs were actual scenes of the battlefield and not an artist’s vision. The Civil War was the first war that was imaged with the new media of photography. The disgust and horror of the war were shown directly in these photographs since photographers at that time were only able to snap pictures of dead corpses because photographers did not posses the technology to shoot live combat. However, the photographs started to appear in color rather than in black and white which allowed the photographs to express more feelings to the crowds. Since the government did not interfere very much with the type of content the media broadcasted in the Civil War, that war was the only truly modern war.