Civil War Battlefields and National Parks: Photographs by A. J. Meek

In 1993, long before the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War—upon which we, as a nation, are now reflecting—A. J. Meek, professor of photography at Louisiana State University, presented a proposal to the university’s council of research stating a desire to photograph the 384 documented Civil War battlefield sites at the same time of year the battles were fought.

Civil War Battlefields and National Parks: Photographs by A. J. Meek
November 6, 2013–April 5, 2014

Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art, 400 Chartres Street
Admission is free.

An exhibition of these images, titled Battlefield, was held at the US Civil War Center at Louisiana State University’s Hill Memorial Library in the fall of 1995. In completing his initial fieldwork, the photographer was confronted by the enormity of the project, and he revised its scope to include only those battle sites where the outcome was pivotal in how the war unfolded. The completed project was published in 2001 by the University of Missouri Press as Gettysburg to Vicksburg: Photographs of the First Five Civil War Battlefield Parks, with Herman Hattaway of the University of Missouri providing the text. It is from this published series that the present exhibition is selected, drawn from A. J. Meek’s archive, given by the photographer to The Historic New Orleans Collection. Over a forty year career, Meek’s work generally coalesced around groups of photographs devoted to specific places or themes. The Civil War battlefield series taps into our national consciousness about this long past conflict, and the memories and lessons that it presents today.

Above: Dead Soldier Monument, Gettysburg; 1994; gelatin silver photograph by A. J. Meek; THNOC, gift of  A. J. Meek, 2013.0022.6.2

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