Emerging Photography

Taken from the Confederate entrenchments looking towards the once-bloody Saunders Field in the Wilderness.

Picture this: You are visiting a Civil War battlefield for the first, fifth, or even twentieth time (yep, we know those people) and all of the sudden you stop. Maybe you got the chills. Maybe you were simply overwhelmed. You weren’t watching the events that made that ground famous, but you could still almost see them.

Your sense of imagination, your mind, your heart, your spirit—something has allowed you to connect to the story in front of you. Something has allowed you to connect with the ground, forever empathizing with the souls that once fell on that ground.

I venture to say we have all had that experience. If not, why else would we be keen to study the Civil War?

Given the power that most of these experiences can have, historians typically rely heavily on the art of word to express their new findings and experiences. It is not often that you find someone who does the same thing just as brilliantly behind the lens of a camera.

Until now.

Keeping in spirit with our eagerness to promote emerging perspectives and voices on the story of the Civil War, we are excited for an upcoming photography exhibit in Fredericksburg by Larry Stuart.

Stuart, a graphic designer and photographer by trade, completed back in September of 2011 a photographer-in-residence program with the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park (FRSP). Typically larger parks in the Park Service will host an artist for a week to creatively document their park (more found here on this unique program). Although Fredericksburg had no such program, Stuart and FRSP reached an agreement that would allow him to stay in and photograph the park for a week.

Larry Stuart, photographer, with the aid of the park's bucket truck, photographing the National Cemetery in Fredericksburg from new heights.

Receiving special access to park property at all hours of the day (earliest wake-up call was 4:00 a.m.), Stuart embarked on capturing never-before-seen scenes of the four battlefields and their surrounding historic structures.

What makes Stuart’s pieces unique and important to the Civil War community is not the eye-catching vignettes he is able to capture, but rather the essence of the event that once took place on the ground in front of him—just like historical writers do. After taking the pictures on the ground, Stuart continues his artistic process at the computer, completing his story through various methods of alternative processing.

After a long-awaited five months, Stuart will unveil these professionally processed images to the public on February 17th. Below, you will find more information regarding his opening show at Chatham Manor in Fredericksburg, VA.

Can’t make it to the show? Feel free to check out his web site at http://larrystuartstudio.com/. Once his show starts, the civil war prints will be posted. More photos can be seen on the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP Facebook page here and here, although these won’t be the finished products seen at the show.

We hope you are as moved by his work as we are. Thank you, Larry, for your excellent vision and willingness to share.

 

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