June 2005

Signals from the Frontline

The American Civil War is something that fascinates me; the idea that even to this day a conflict that pitted one half of a country against another left deep scars and lasting resentment more than 150 years after the fact. We all know history is written by the winners and I simply can’t fathom than the reasons given for the cause of this particular conflict are entirely to whole story. If the civil war was truly about slavery why would ordinary towns-people take up arms? Why would the peoples of eleven entire states whole-heartedly agree to join an alternative government for something that really only affected rich plantation owners?

I was amazed to discover whilst travelling around the southern states of Virginia, South & North Carolina, Georgia & Tennessee that dotted around, with very little reverence, there were tributes and monuments to the people and battles fought during this particularly bloody conflict - sometimes just a plague at the side of the interstate, sometimes entire preserved fortifications.

Often the sites were large open fields, off the beaten-track which, in their serene and peaceful solitude, held an atmosphere fortified by the knowledge that so many people lost their lives on that soil for, lets face it, very little resolution.

I wanted to try to tell a little of the story that was an intrinsic part of American history and to convey the feeling and atmosphere of these isolated sites.

35mm Film