In early May the National Trust for Historic Preservation contacted me… could I photograph the Princeton Battlefield as soon as possible, not draw attention to myself, and shoot in the style of the personal work on my web site? In a way it’s one version of the dream job. No commute, travel light, time it to the best possible light, and work as you would on your own.
One more advantage, I know the subject extremely well having grown up where I live. In eighth grade, Greg Fisher and I trudged through the snow of Princeton Battlefield, in amongst the re-enactors, video taping the two hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Princeton. State of the art video in 1977 meant a shoulder camera tethered to a heavy recording pack. So, we would switch off. One filming while the other carried the tape unit.
I went to nursery school nearby on the grounds of the Friends Meeting House and that is where my kids spend their summers. It is also an area I still frequent, taking the dog for walks. The Battlefield along with the abutting properties (the Institute Woods, the Friends Meeting House, and the Updike Farmstead) has one of the last stands of old growth forest in the area.
So, it was an honor to get the call from the Trust and to work with them in helping to ensure the integrity of the Princeton Battlefield site. Yesterday, the NTHP celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of their 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and announced the 2012 list – including the Princeton Battlefield.
The photos I shot are already running around the world and will continue to be used in the fight against the plans of the Institute for Advanced Study to build housing units on the Battlefield’s border. It’s been exciting to see the wide reach of the photos (it’s only been a day) and to know that they will be used on Capitol Hill as well.
Update – 6/11/12 -> NTHP’s New Site SavingPlaces.org.
Preservation Nation – NTHP’s blog.
Prior blog posts with images from the battlefield and the adjoining woods: