For Immediate Release: 08/03/07
Civil War Preservation Trust and The History Channel Announce National Photo Competition
Annual contest encourages amateur photographers to document America’s Civil War history
(Washington, D.C.) - The Civil War was the first major conflict in history to be extensively documented by photojournalists. Using equipment now considered primitive, Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and other “embedded” photographers recorded the dramatic battlefield and homefront wartime images that still haunt us today.
Nearly a century and a half later, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) is teaming up with The History Channel and the Center for Civil War Photography (CCWP) to encourage amateur shutterbugs to follow in the footsteps of Brady and Gardner. Together, the organizations are sponsoring 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. “Viewing stirring images, like those annually submitted to this contest, helps us see what precious resources our historic sites are, and why we must work to preserve them.”
Dr. Libby O’Connell, Chief Historian at The History Channel and executive producer of “Save Our History,” agrees that photography can be a dynamic tool for teaching history. “For many people a visual image can stir the imagination and make history come alive like the written word cannot,” she said. “This idea lies at the very heart of The History Channel’s mission.”
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, is sponsoring the competition’s “Then and Now” category.
Garry Adelman, CCWP vice president, concurred that photographs are an invaluable tool in the study and teaching of history, saying, “Whether taken in the aftermath of battle, or amid the grind of everyday life, photographs are historical documents from which we can all learn.”
Amateur photographers are invited to submit Civil War-related photos in six different categories: (1) Endangered Battlefields, featuring a battlefield under imminent threat of destruction; (2) Scenic, showing the natural beauty of Civil War sites; (3) Historic, capturing the solemn effect of a historic structure or monument; (4) Then and Now, contrasting early images of Civil War battlefields with the same sites today; (5) Close-up, examining a monument or landscape in detail; and (6) Junior Photographer, a special category for photographers under the age of 18.
The History Channel will award $250 to the first place winners in each category, while second and third place winners will receive CWPT merchandise and History Channel gift certificates. A grand prize winner will be selected from among the six category winners and receive free registration (a more than $500 value) to CWPT’s 2008 annual conference in Springfield, Missouri. The winner of the “Then and Now” category will receive a free registration to the Center for Civil War Photography’s 2008 Image of War seminar (a $300 value; date and location to be announced).
Participants must be amateur photographers. The entry fee is $20 and includes a half-year membership to CWPT. There is no entry fee for current CWPT members. The deadline for entries is November 30, 2007. Please submit only one entry per category. For complete contest rules, visit CWPT online at www.civilwar.org/photocontestrules.htm.
With 70,000 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. Since 1987, the organization has saved more than 24,000 acres of hallowed ground nationwide. CWPT’s website is www.civilwar.org.