“It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Let us pause for a moment to remember John McCosh. Although largely forgotten except by historians, he created a profession that to some, may seem like more of a calling than merely a job. McCosh documented the Second Sikh War, fought in 1848-49 between the Sikh Empire and the British East India Company, thereby becoming the world’s first known combat photographer.
Since then, photographers such as Mathew Brady (whose images of the Civil War remain as haunting today as they were 150 years ago), and some of our most renowned photographic artists and photojournalists spent at least part of their careers on the fields of conflict. These illustrious names include Edward Steichen, Cecil Beaton, Eddie Adams, Margaret Bourke-White, and Tim Hetherington. Some of the images they have produced have remained iconic for decades. Who can forget Joe Rosenthal’s Pulitzer-prize-winning image of United States Marines raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima—the most-reproduced image in the history of photography? Or the Air Force photo of the mushroom cloud rising over Nagasaki? Tiananmen Square? The toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad? And perhaps the most celebrated of all, Alfred Eisenstaedt’s capturing of a passionate kiss between a soldier and a nurse in Times Square on V-J Day?
The tradition of visually documenting the triumphs and tragedies of our military remains vital, as evidenced by “Through Their Eyes—Team SHAW,” a special photographic exhibition opening on February 28, 2014 at Patriot Hall’s Gallery 135. Hosted by the Sumter County Cultural Commission and sponsored by SAFE Federal Credit Union, the display “[explores the] experiences and examines the interrelationship between war and photography, revealing how war is recorded and remembered.” From training to remembrance, the Public Affairs/Visual Information Office on base is there to record history as it happens. Bringing these encounters even closer to home, the photographers and videographers represented are all stationed at Shaw, or are residents of the Sumter area.
This special event is part of the Cultural Commission’s ongoing mission to “continually strive to engage community members of all ages in the creation, contemplation, and appreciation of the visual arts.” The opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., and features a presentation and artist’s panel with Shaw officials and local dignitaries, to be held in Patriot Hall. Musical entertainment for the reception will be provided by Robert Gibbs. Admission is free and open to the public, and the exhibition remains in place until April 4th.
Gallery 135 is located at Patriot Hall, 135 Haynworth Street. Regular hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call Patriot Hall at (803) 436-2260.
Don’t miss this chance to observe, up close and personal, the impact and significant historical role of our men and women in uniform—and their cameras, as they record the events that continue to shape the world’s future.
by Colette Daniels