How’s that for the longest title ever?!? Last month I blogged briefly about a current collaborative project I am working with a cohort of mine involving landscapes of civil war battle fields and other historical places we photographed in the deep south, namely Virginia, a few years ago. Well, in the few spare moments I have had in the last few weeks, I have thrown myself into researching and some abstract ideas have really started to form. Sometimes I have to photograph something, put it away for a while, and then revisit the project to really understand why I photographed something in the first place.
The main epiphany I had over the last few weeks is really the structural skeleton of the project that I have tried to put into words for the last few months. In the end, this project in not about civil war battles, or preserving historical events, but rather the unintentional side effect of creating spaces that are being largely untouched by the human hand and can start to regrow.
It remains a little thought about fact that the deep south’s natural resources have been cleared time and again in the last 300 years, and current forests are in their 2nd or 3rd regrowth stage (more about this is later), and the national parks created to educate and preserve historical cultural events (Jamestown, Civil War battlefields, etc) have created spaces where nature, for the first time in the area in centuries, is largely left to its own devices.
This is most visible in sites where smaller happenings occurred (i.e. The Battle of the Wilderness) where visitors are largely left to their own devices and trails make up a very small percentage of the actual parks, but even in larger destinations like Gettysburg and Jamestown, the visitor trails and attractions make up a fairly small part of the parks themselves, and much of the land is allowed to regrow from centuries of pillage. As I read on and hypothesis, I’ll have more to say on the subject, but for now I’ll let these thoughts stand.