Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Film and Media Studies | Radio | Television
This piece combines my two passions of history and television/film. I have been able to combine these two passions by doing two years of research on Civil War photography and sketch artists.
My original intention was to create a documentary about this topic, but due to unanswered questions about copyright I quickly abandoned this idea. I then moved onto writing a screenplay after slightly narrowing my topic to focus on three photographers: Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and Timothy H. O’Sullivan. My intent was to focus on how they made the photographs, their relationship to each other, and why Gardner and O’Sullivan split off from Brady to form a separate studio. After going to the George Eastman House and after talking to many historians, I learned that the diaries and letters that I would need in order to write a historically accurate drama do not exist any more.
As a result of the two obstacles outlined above, I switched my thesis topic to be about the metaphysical problem of how a work changes in response to the work itself. In other words, my thesis has taken the form of a paper analyzing the methods that I went through as an amateur documentarian that resulted in the evolvement of the format of how I express my research. This paper analyzes the research I did, my process as to choosing to do a drama/narrative versus a documentary, and the ethical questions that are raised when taking liberties in a historical piece.
Margolis, Rose, "How a work changes in response to the work itself: Researching Civil War Photography, A Case Study" (2009). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 415.
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