Installation view of Gettysburg Comparison in the exhibition Conflict and Consequences at Beloit College

"Such a picture conveys a useful moral; It shows the blank horror and reality of war, in opposition to its pagaentry.  Here are the dreadful details!  Let them aid in preventing such another calamity falling upon the nation" 

                         - Alexander Gardner, A Harvest of Death, from Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War, 1865

 

I am a southerner and my ancestors fought in the Civil War.  I grew up hearing stories of silver being buried under trees and aunties taking in prisoners of war.  I was taught the history and the revised histories of almost every aspect of the war that brutally divided our country and claimed over 600,000 American lives.  For the duration of the 150th Sesquicentennial of the Civil War (2011-2015) I traveled to all of the major events and battlefields, documenting the reenactments, pagaentry, and the revised representation of the theater of war. My images compare the original documents by Matthew Brady, Timothy O'Sullivan, and Alexander Gardner with the reenactments, exploring the rich history of idealized, revisionist histories in art.  My images look at the representation of the mythic war and the slippage that reflects an America that is again changing, and again divided.

 

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