Jeff Beekman’s “Battlefield Series” is showing in East Atlanta

REMINDER! This photography project will only be on display at the East Atlanta Library for a few more weeks. The artist reception closing event is fast approaching on July 22nd.

Join us as we host an artist reception for Jeff Beekman and his Battlefield Series currrently on display at the East Atlanta Library Meet the artist and view the artwork while enjoying some wine and other refreshments.

The photography presented at our library was mostly shot on the battlefields at Gettysburg at night and then combined through projections with other historical images found in research by the artist. The result is striking.
— Friends of East Atlanta Library

"Battlefield Project", by FSU Art Assistant Professor Jeff Beekman, is currently showing the at the East Atlanta Library. 

Project Statement

The enduring legacy of the U.S. Civil War is difficult to overestimate. Over 150 years in the past, it remains our nation’s deadliest conflict. And, though no one alive can claim to have witnessed its events first hand, the war’s place in our collective memory is evidenced in the films we watch, the political and economic landscape we have inherited, and the countless historic markers, statues and memorials scattered across the southern and eastern portions of the United States.

Civil War battlefields, as they are now memorialized, are strange, highly negotiated spaces. While there is general agreement that the history these sites preserve is important, the complexities of how this history is presented and how the land has been changed to accommodate current stakeholders’ interests has not been adequately explored. War colleges run by our armed forces make frequent use of these locations to teach our aspiring young officers military history and tactics. Historians, archaeologists - scholars of every variety come to these sites in support of their research. And then, there are the literally millions of tourists who visit annually, whose importance cannot be underestimated because it is their support that keep these parks open. These audiences come with disparate and often contrary purposes for doing so.

Battlefield Project started as a way I could begin to explore of all this, a way I could question how particular memorialized sites have evolved from the scarred and blood soaked fields where often tens of thousands fell and died, to become tourist attractions, running trails, research sites, and re-enactor playgrounds.

In form, the Battlefield series is comprised of photographs taken in Civil War memorial sites across the United States. Many are simply documentation of sites and phenomena directly observed. Others record digital projections of archival photographs of soldiers or heroic paintings of battle. These projections are cast upon the sites where those depicted fought and fell. Rather than post-production collage via Photoshop layering or the like, I am interested in the physical integration, image wrapping over structure, and how projected fragments from the past are supported by and illuminating of the landscapes and structures they are cast upon.

Whether observed or constructed, the goal of these photographs is the same - to create a compression between a traumatic past and the present day, a space where the relationship between site and memory, the now and that fleeting moment where the nation almost succeeded in tearing itself apart, can be investigated.

This project would not have been possible without initial support from Florida State University, the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, and the Gettysburg National Military Park.

Learn more about this amazing installation!