Faking Reality

The sudden chatter of rifle fire heralds the start of a new day in the killing fields of southern Pennsylvania.  Men and boys are startled awake and stumble from their tents to join their ranks.  Already the fields are littered with fallen comrades.  Will today be their day?

The U.S Civil War claimed the lives of 620,000 soldiers, which at the time was approximately 2% of the population.  To put that into some perspective, 2% of today’s population would be approximately 6 million people. A frightening thought.

Matthew Brady’s team of photographers documented the civil war from its commencement in 1865, but it wasn’t until his exhibitions almost a year later that those not on the front line saw, for the first time, the startling reality of the horrors and atrocities their husbands and sons were facing each day.  It is no wonder, therefore that this and the events that shaped the United States after the union army victory are very closely studied and passionately reenacted. 

I am no scholar in the civil war, but recently took a day trip to Gettysburg when “celebrations” were underway to mark the 150 year anniversary of Pickett’s Charge in which approximately 50% of the 12,000 or so confederate soldiers advancing towards the union line were cut down.  Walking around the encampments I was amazed at how much detail the “actors” put into their period clothing and equipment, and how knowledgeable they were of the characters they were playing.  They even interfaced with each other in character.  I firmly believe they had transported themselves 150 years back in time.  Thankfully, the only difference being, we witnessed none of the horrors that their real characters had to deal with.

The images that accompany this post are part of a folio that I am currently working on and hope to post in the near future.


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  1. Unbelievably good images Arthur! WOW! I can’t wait for the folio.

  2. Chuck Kimmerle

    Nice, Arthur. Very nice.

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