In the 1860s, Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner and other “embedded” photographers made the Civil War the first major conflict to be extensively documented by photojournalists. Their dramatic battlefield images still haunt us today despite the use of equipment and techniques that are considered primitive by the standards of current technology.
Today, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) has again teamed up with History™ (formerly The History Channel) and the Center for Civil War Photography (CCWP) to sponsor a national photography competition to promote appreciation of America’s rich Civil War heritage.
“To see the fields and other sites where history was made is to understand those events much more deeply,” said CWPT President James Lighthizer. “A visual image can stir the imagination and make history come alive like the written word cannot.”
In addition to showcasing modern images of sites associated with the Civil War, the contest is designed to encourage closer study of the many fascinating images taken during the conflict. CCWP, a nonprofit group dedicated to educating the public about Civil War photography and its role in the conflict, sponsors the competition’s “Then and Now” category.
Amateur photographers are invited to submit Civil War-related photos in four different categories: (1) Civil War Battlefields, showcasing the solemn and scenic landscapes of these hallowed grounds; (2) People on Civil War Battlefields , focusing on visitors young and old enjoying their time on the battlefield; (3) Preservation Threats, illustrating the grave threats faced by many Civil War battlefields and historic sites; and (4) Then and Now, contrasting early images of Civil War battlefields with the same sites today. Additionally, students aged 13–18 are invited to submit their work to a special High School division.
The winner of each category will receive a one-year membership (or membership extension) to CWPT and a special plaque, while the Grand Prize winner will receive free registration to CWPT’s 2011 annual conference, in Manassas, Virginia. Second- and third-place winners will receive certificates of recognition. All winning images will be featured in CWPT publications and on www.civilwar.org. Additionally, the winner of the “Then and Now” category will receive a free registration to the Center for Civil War Photography’s annual Image of War seminar (date and location to be announced).
All submissions to the contest must be uploaded to the CWPT site at www.flickr.com/groups/cwpt. Flickr™ is one of the internet’s premier photo-sharing websites and provides free membership and a user-friendly interface for uploading photos and providing relevant captions. Once uploaded, photos must be tagged to ensure their consideration in the correct category.
Participants must be amateur photographers and at least 13 years old. Employees of sponsoring organizations and their families are not eligible. The deadline for entries is August 31, 2010. Individuals can submit an unlimited number of photographs, but each image will only be considered in one category. For complete contest rules and instructions on how to enter, visit CWPT online at www.civilwar.org/photocontest.
With 55,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. CWPT has preserved more than 29,000 acres of battlefield land across the nation. CWPT’s website is www.civilwar.org.