Photographer William Bretzger in Gettysburg




William Bretzger has been photographing Gettysburg for over 20 years. Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview about his work and career, and experience as the National Parks Arts Foundation’s artist-in-residence at Gettysburg National Military Park.


Bretzger’s work at Gettysburg started when he was just beginning as a photographer. During that time, he completed his master’s degree in photojournalism from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication, and then began a career in photography for daily newspapers. The first images he made at Gettysburg were 35mm color transparencies, many of which he printed for exhibition in a traditional darkroom. Bretzger has since shifted to shooting primarily black and white film in medium and large format, and continued his darkroom work as well as returning to color images of the battlefield, now often shooting in digital format.

At a beautiful, serene location such as Gettysburg it is easy to get caught up in cliché landscape images. But in repeated visits – with his work now stretching into a third decade – the deeper, storytelling images become apparent. Bretzger’s photography, perhaps because of his photojournalism background, is focused on capturing the soul and story of the battlefield as best he can imagine, and communicating it through the lens.

The National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF), a 501(c)3 non-profit, has expanded its Artist-in-Residence program Service at Gettysburg National Military Park to include 12 artists over 12 months.  The Gettysburg Foundation supports the Gettysburg program which has become a model for artist residencies in all of the national parks. NPAF selects any sort of artist for national park residencies, from traditional landscape painters, photographers, to performers, installations, films/video, as well as writers, poets, sound artists, and new arts media. More information about these opportunities is available at

National Parks Arts Foundation

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