Photo history: two books from Dr. Stanley Burns

Dr. Burns just sent me a great review in the New York Review of Books for his new title, Shooting Soldiers: Civil War Medical Photography By R.b. Bontecou. This is the first publication of these civil war photos that link art, photographic, medical and military history. It’s available on my store, and from the Burns Archive Press.

I also just added a previous Burns Archive book; Sleeping Beauty II: Grief, Bereavement and The Family In Memorial Photography- American & European Traditions. I don’t think you’ll find these for sale elsewhere. If you do, my store should have the best price.

Shooting Soldiers is a small package with big content. Dr. Burns spent much of 35 years collecting the photos, and they’re reproduced at double their original sub-index-card size. Sleeping Beauty II has an impressive heft and photo reproduction quality. I stand behind these as value-holding collector items, since I’ve spent a lot to stock them. I seem to be the first dealer for some, letting me send some personal feedback on how they’re selling. I would call them unique, memorable gifts, that should absorb even a casual reader of these topics. These old photos have a haunting kind of beauty.

Dr. Burns is doing important work. I want to blog about it more in the future and spend more time checking it out as film inspiration material.

Congratulations to Burns Archive Press for getting such a great notice- you can read more on their blog (caution, some medical content.)


Here’s a story that’s not very highbrow. When I was 18, I did a trip from Syracuse to Montreal with my buddy Mike. We slept on a river bank, and randomly found an animation festival at a museum. We went in and watched the original South Park pilot from before it was a show. (I laughed til I peed, and it made me want to animate.) We hunted for underground record stores, and I bought a record by Austrian grindcore/death metal band, Pungent Stench. It had funny, gross songs about zombies (“Splatterday Night Fever”, ha ha). For the cover they borrowed a morbid photo by famous art photographer Joel-Peter Witkin. He was controversial for photos of cadavers done outside of regulated borders. His twin brother, Jerome Witkin, was a famous painter at Syracuse University who taught a friend. I think I got yelled at for bringing that record home. Years later, I recognized the cover photo when I started dealing his book. It led me to learn that he collaborated with Dr. Burns. That’s how I found Burns Press and started dealing with them.

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