In the make-believe world of Civil War reenactors, earnest nostalgia can bump up against reality, and Atlanta photographer Anderson Scott has an eye for the humorous, ironic and sometimes disturbing consequences. Having grown up in Montgomery, Alabama, he explains, “I knew lots of people who obsessed about the Civil War. It seemed like an odd-but-harmless hobby, sort of like collecting toy trains. I did not think too much about it.
“Many years later, I stumbled onto a Civil War reenactment. What I found was a group of people living in a more or less (often less) accurate facsimile of life on the march during the Civil War. The reenactors were in period dress, which was striking and made for interesting photographs. But more than that, I got the sense that some of these people were frighteningly serious about their alternate reality–by which I mean that the reenactment included some people who thought the world would be a better place had the South won, with all that that entails, including slavery. I decided I wanted to know more.”
Scott began to photograph Civil War reenactments and neo-Confederate events in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and the Carolinas. The project has just been published as a book titled Whistling Dixie from Columbia College Chicago Press. More images from the project can viewed at Scott’s website.