Carol Szathmari

Photographer, Visual Artist

1812 – 1887

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Who was Carol Szathmari?

Carol Szathmari was an Austro-Hungarian-born painter, lithographer and photographer. He is considered the world's first combat photographer as he took pictures in the battlefield, during the first year of the Russian-Turkish War, later known as the Crimean War.

Szathmari decided to take his camera to the battlefield. Using a wagon specially equipped with a dark room for processing the glass plates with wet collodion, he went to Danube's banks and various other places to document the war. In April 1854 his van became a target for the Turkish artillery from Oltenitza, who thought it belonged to a Russian spy. It was fortunate for the artist that the gunners were not accurate enough to hit him.

Besides landscapes, fortifications and battlefields, he photographed various troops, both Turkish and Russian, and their commanding officers

At the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, in Rochester, New York, there are three pictures by Szathmari from that period. They are: "The Russian lancer's encampment in Craiova", "The Bombardment of Silistra" and the portrait of Lieutenant General Soimonoff, commander of the 104th Russian Division, killed in the battle of Inkermann. All of them are bound on carboard, surrounded by a lithographed ornament and the French captions are written in black ink by the author's hand. Their dimension is 15,3x21,1 cm. and 25,2x18,3 cm. respectively.

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on July 23, 2013


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