Ever since 9-11, I have endeavored to make a point of not taking things for granted. And as a photo documentarian I have always strived to be a vernacular iconographer, an artist capturing, celebrating, and immortalizing in my photos the everyday things and places we too often take for granted, things we will look back on in 30 years saying "whatever happened to?" Like gas stations with signs advertising gas at 29.9. Or the original McDonalds or Little Tavern restaurants. Or storefronts plastered with signs for products that no longer exist. One could argue that there is nothing 'vernacular' about the U.S. Capitol bldg. or the Washington Monument, but they are certainly among the things we Washingtonians take for granted, barely giving them a glance when we spy them while walking down the street or looking out of our workplace windows. During my commute there is one place at the corner of North Capitol St. and Michigan Avenue where I can see them both. I haven't had much success photographing the monument from my moving car as the monument ducks in and out of the filtration silos for the MacMillan Reservoir at that corner, but here is a shot of the Capitol dome, looking down North Capitol from my car. I shot the monument from the roof of my garage at work. And every day I'm in DC, I continue to take inventory. What are the things you take for granted in your towns? Whatever they might be, New York has taught us to never do so again.
Say what you will about the DC metropolitan area, but it can be drop-dead beautiful in the Spring with all the flowering trees that proliferate apart from the more famous Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms trees. In my neck of the woods, we are blessed with 'Pink Snow" for a brief window of time each Spring. Here are a few examples.
I have been a professional photographer in DC for over thirty years, and for the past several years, an adjunct college professor as well. I teach courses in photography, photo history, and film appreciation.
I have always been opinionated, yet I have always tended to cede the soapbox to those with a greater compulsion to use it.
That said, I was reading Esther Iverem's excellent new book on Black people in film called "We Gotta Have It" in which she says something to the effect that we all have just as much a right to our own voice as anyone and maybe more, and it really resonated with me.
It is in part to help me hone my voice that I have started this blog. The other part is to have a place where I can share some of my photos and get some honest feedback about them. As an artist, I've always sort of acted in a vacuum, but I've come to realize, belatedly, the importance of getting feedback regarding my work.