The idea of history repeating itself generally means that recognizing mistakes of the past prevents their recurrence. Current political and cultural polarization in the United States seems to have blinded us to the effects of our terrible historical schisms—divisions that led to the horrific and devastating events of the American Civil War and which, having not been recognized and resolved, seem determined to repeat themselves. The current political divide in this country is not dissimilar to that of mid-nineteenth-century America. And once again, political leaders today, as before, appear incapable of lasting and effective resolutions.
Perspectives on the Civil War and contemporary culture are many and are deeply engrained in our heritage. Prying open and examining viewpoints objectively is exceedingly difficult, but it is nevertheless an essential responsibility for all citizens if we are to recover any possibility of cultural and political cohesion. My goals are to create landscapes that come alive with the acts of war, and cause, at least, contemplation of the nature of being American, to allow understanding, communication, and cooperation with fellow citizens. These photographs are an attempt to preserve American history, not to relish it, but recognize its cyclical nature and to derail that seemingly inevitable tendency for repetition.