For Immediate Release: 06/03/08
Civil War Goes Digital Through New Civil War Preservation Trust Photography Contest
Popular annual contest is sponsored by The History Channel and the Center for Civil War Photography
(Washington, D.C.) - This summer, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) is teaming up with 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. For the first time, all entries to the popular, long-running contest will be submitted digitally via an online interface, allowing more people to participate than ever before.
The images submitted digitally will provide a sharp contrast to the classic photos taken by Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner and other “embedded” photographers who 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 primitive by the standards of current technology.
“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 enhanced by today’s technology will help all Americans 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, 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.
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 2009 annual conference, “The Fields of Gettysburg.” 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 2009 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, 2008. 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 65,000 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’s website is www.civilwar.org.