V a n n  Thomas  P o w e l l  

    On Contentious Ground
    Looking for Lowery

    Points of Entry
    Rebirth of Tragedy
    Retracing Sherman

Vann is a Fine Art
Photographer and
Experimental Filmmaker

+1 919 638 9146
Based in Durham, NC


© Vann Thomas Powell 2023

On Contentious Ground (2019-)

On Contentious Ground is a series of medium and large format still photography that focuses on visitors to American Civil War sites and landscapes. By picturing visitors in these spaces and how they interact and reflect on the memories of the past, I aim to capture the reverberations of the Civil War rippling into our time, as if to measure the long shadow the Civil War has cast onto today.

Not unlike many children who grew up along the eastern coast of the United States, my father often took us to different American historical sites during family vacations. Civil War sites held a certain amount of intense gravity and whose histories and stories commanded my attention as a child, the number of dead and suffering on and off the battlefield - unresolvable. Now, older, I am interested in who and why others visit these sites, while at the same time interrogating my own fascination. What can images of these visitors and the landscapes tell us about our relationship to a past that was and continues to be formative for our stories as Americans? Working with themes of identity politics, division, and layering of history, On Contentious Ground looks at visitors to Civil War sites today to investigate America’s past and continued connection to these sites of reckoning.