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‘Broken Land’ travels back in time

Karla Rendon
Arts Editor

Eleven large, scenic photographs can now be seen in the Carlson gallery, as photographer Eliot Dudik’s exhibit, “Broken Land” premiered Monday.

Lush forest life, quaint snow scenery and trails lined with autumn-leaved trees seem to be the focus of this gallery, but Dudik’s perspective on the American Civil War was what inspired the earthly exhibit.

“My goals are to create landscapes that come alive with the acts of war, and cause, at least, contemplation of the nature of being American, to allow understanding, communication, and cooperation with fellow citizens,” Dudik said in “Broken Land’s” biography on his website.

Centered in the gallery is his photo of an open field inhabited by various men in Civil War uniforms during the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War’s reenactment of the battle.

While some men are in the far back of the field, five men riding horses take the center.

“It looks like the photo is telling a story of their voyage or adventure,” said Michelle Leon, sophomore photography major.

“It’s like they are trying to relive the past,” Leon said.

In the midst of the green scenery and war reenactments was ‘Boonsboro, Maryland,’ the only photo in Carlson Gallery that included snow.

Having everything covered under a blanket of snow, Redding resident, William Farsley, chose it as his favorite from the exhibit.

“It’s like he caught it at the most perfect time just to have the snow haze but still be able to see the barn in the back,” Farsley said.

“In a way it’s really peaceful and quiet. It’s really calm,” he said.

While nearly all of the photographs are of landscapes instead of combat, Dudik’s decision on focusing on the environment was intended to show areas associated with the war.

“The photographic series, “Broken Land,” depicts American landscapes stained with acts of war,” Dudik said in the written origin of the exhibit.

“Some are enormous, well-known engagements, while others are much smaller, mostly unknown clashes,” Dudik said.

“The photos are large and the gallery is small so it worked well because you can’t stand too far from the photographs,” said Stacey McCarroll Cutshaw, visiting professor of photography.

“You get the feeling that you’re being immersed in the landscape,” Cutshaw said.

“I think anyone who comes to the exhibition will really get that experience,” she said.

Dudik’s intention when it came to his photographs was to retain American history.

“These photographs are an attempt to preserve American history, not to relish it, but recognize its cyclical nature and to derail that seemingly inevitable tendency for repetition,” Dudik said.

A conversation with the photographer will be held at 4:30 p.m. on May 8 at the Campus Center followed by a reception in the Carlson Gallery.

“Broken Land” will run through May 30.

Karla Rendon can be reached at karla.rendon@laverne.edu.

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