Folly Beach looking towards Morris Island, 1999


William Earle Williams, Folly Beach looking towards Morris Island, 1999, 1999, gelatin silver print, 7 1/2 × 7 1/2 in. (19.1 × 19.1 cm). National Gallery of Art, Purchased as the Gift of the Gallery Girls

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Taken in 1999, this photograph captures the view from Folly Beach, South Carolina, looking north towards Morris Island where Fort Wagner once stood protecting the entrance to Charleston Harbor. The sea has since reclaimed the fort; only a lighthouse remains. The photograph’s title provides the sole context for this elegiac image, which invites the viewer to reflect upon the dialogue between past and present, the capacity for change, and the need for remembrance. Photographer William Earle Williams, a professor of fine arts at Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania, has taken photographs of many sites where black Civil War soldiers served, fought, and died.

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