Daily Picture Show

A Civil War In The Olive Garden Parking Lot

  • Juston Pope and Patrick Landrum on the site of the Cotton Gin Park at Franklin, Tenn. Until recently, roughly 1 percent of the Franklin battlefield was protected
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    Juston Pope and Patrick Landrum on the site of the Cotton Gin Park at Franklin, Tenn. Until recently, roughly 1 percent of the Franklin battlefield was protected
    Gregg Segal
  • Robert Lee Hodge on picket near the Old Telegraph Road and Confederate camps outside Fredericksburg, Va.
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    Robert Lee Hodge on picket near the Old Telegraph Road and Confederate camps outside Fredericksburg, Va.
    Gregg Segal
  • Ben Hawley, 54th Massachusetts, at Pickett's Buffet, Gettysburg, Pa. The 54th Massachusetts infantry, a unit of black Union soldiers, was portrayed in the film Glory. The mural behind Hawley depicts the collapse of the Confederacy.
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    Ben Hawley, 54th Massachusetts, at Pickett's Buffet, Gettysburg, Pa. The 54th Massachusetts infantry, a unit of black Union soldiers, was portrayed in the film Glory. The mural behind Hawley depicts the collapse of the Confederacy.
    Gregg Segal
  • Jeffro Moye, Kirkwood Hall and Hodge near Massaponax Church on the Old Telegraph Road, in Spotsylvania County, Va. This area, a major crossroads of the Civil War, saw more than 100,000 casualties during the war.
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    Jeffro Moye, Kirkwood Hall and Hodge near Massaponax Church on the Old Telegraph Road, in Spotsylvania County, Va. This area, a major crossroads of the Civil War, saw more than 100,000 casualties during the war.
    Gregg Segal
  • Confederate horseman Todd Kern on the (Second) Kernstown battlefield, Va.
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    Confederate horseman Todd Kern on the (Second) Kernstown battlefield, Va.
    Gregg Segal
  • Brent Feito and Lars Prillaman walk through a place where Union campsites were established during the winter of 1862-63, in Stafford County, Va.
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    Brent Feito and Lars Prillaman walk through a place where Union campsites were established during the winter of 1862-63, in Stafford County, Va.
    Gregg Segal
  • Federal Zouave Prillaman brushes his teeth where there was once a winter encampment of the Army of the Potomac, in Stafford County, Va. Several Union Zouave regiments, which wore colorful, French North African-influenced uniforms, camped here.
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    Federal Zouave Prillaman brushes his teeth where there was once a winter encampment of the Army of the Potomac, in Stafford County, Va. Several Union Zouave regiments, which wore colorful, French North African-influenced uniforms, camped here.
    Gregg Segal
  • Prillaman on the Cedar Creek battlefield in Strasburg, Va. The fight at Cedar Creek on Oct. 19, 1864, was influential in getting Abraham Lincoln re-elected.
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    Prillaman on the Cedar Creek battlefield in Strasburg, Va. The fight at Cedar Creek on Oct. 19, 1864, was influential in getting Abraham Lincoln re-elected.
    Gregg Segal
  • Jerry Hornbaker in Helen Chapman's backyard on the Gettysburg battlefield.
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    Jerry Hornbaker in Helen Chapman's backyard on the Gettysburg battlefield.
    Gregg Segal
  • Pope on the Nashville battlefield. The interstate is right on top of what was the Southerners' first battle line.
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    Pope on the Nashville battlefield. The interstate is right on top of what was the Southerners' first battle line.
    Gregg Segal
  • Confederate re-enactors at Spring Hill, Tenn.
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    Confederate re-enactors at Spring Hill, Tenn.
    Gregg Segal
  • Hodge hitches a ride in Winchester, Va. Winchester changed hands 72 times during the Civil War — 13 times in just one day. Three major battles were fought in the town.
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    Hodge hitches a ride in Winchester, Va. Winchester changed hands 72 times during the Civil War — 13 times in just one day. Three major battles were fought in the town.
    Gregg Segal
  • Hodge, Jerry Hornbaker and Tim Cole advance through the Gettysburg Cemetery. During the Battle of Gettysburg, this area, called Cemetery Hill, was crowded with thousands of Union troops, artillery pieces, wagons, mules, horses, teamsters, mounted officers, and orderlies trying to shift troops from a weakening Union line.
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    Hodge, Jerry Hornbaker and Tim Cole advance through the Gettysburg Cemetery. During the Battle of Gettysburg, this area, called Cemetery Hill, was crowded with thousands of Union troops, artillery pieces, wagons, mules, horses, teamsters, mounted officers, and orderlies trying to shift troops from a weakening Union line.
    Gregg Segal
  • Confederate re-enactors at Germanna Heights apartments. On May 4, 1864, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant launched his 120,000-man federal invasion here, in central Virginia.
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    Confederate re-enactors at Germanna Heights apartments. On May 4, 1864, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant launched his 120,000-man federal invasion here, in central Virginia.
    Gregg Segal
  • Prillaman and Feito outside a Honda dealership on what was a Federal campsite near Fredericksburg, Va.
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    Prillaman and Feito outside a Honda dealership on what was a Federal campsite near Fredericksburg, Va.
    Gregg Segal

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Think about where you are, this very moment — and imagine all that has happened there before now.

When I was in college in Tennessee, for example, my neighborhood was nicknamed "The Fort," because that's exactly what it was during the Civil War. How weird to think that where soldiers once fired cannons, students today are doing keg stands. And actually, I wouldn't have been shocked to see Civil War soldiers milling around the neighborhood; re-enactments were — and are — huge in the area.

That interests photographer Gregg Segal. "I travel a lot on assignment for magazines and had been increasingly disturbed by the growing sameness of America," he writes in an email. "Wherever I traveled, I'd see the same strip malls with the same Olive Gardens and Jamba Juices and Panera Breads, etc., and I wanted to say something about the erasure of the past and the homogenization of the landscape."

He had been reading Tony Horwitz's Confederates in the Attic, a book about the South's sustained interest in the Civil War, and tracked down one of the book's key figures: Robert Lee Hodge, a "re-enactor, battle site preservationist and walking encyclopedia of all things Civil War," writes Segal.

Through Hodge, Segal met his cast of characters and, over the course of five trips to the South and Gettysburg, created this series of, for instance, soldiers camped out in front of Domino's.

"On a more abstract level, I'm interested in time," Segal explains, "and the unique capacity of the photograph to convey the past and present in a single image."

An L.A.-based commercial photographer, Segal is a prolific producer of personal projects like this one. Among many on his website is the one that shows superheroes at home — and "Remembered," a touching series about Alzheimer's. That fascination with memory is an obvious through-line of his work. So is a charming sense of humor and an affection for the absurdity of life.

If you happen to be in New York, you can see this work on display at Chelsea Market from through September and at Photoville in Brooklyn through August.

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