Of all the miss-steps taken in celebration of the Bicentennial 32 years ago, among the worst (at least in DC) has to be the bright idea to make planters out of discarded car wheels and tires. The tires were cut away from the wheel hub on one side of the wheel and flipped inside-out, still attached to the other side. The result was a bowl shape which was then trimmed in a scallop pattern in an effort to make these hideous things as appealing as possible. Filled with soil, they became crude planters of sorts. When painted, you could almost forget their origins save for the tell-tale tire pattern clearly visible. These 'planters' once proliferated throughout DC, though most have mercifully disappeared. These photos were recently taken on Ingraham Street, NW, near Kennedy.
The only thing worse was the brainstorm to paint DC fire hydrants to look like little steadfast tin soldiers, attired in uniforms the likes of which even Michael Jackson would avoid. The color palette on these atrocities was straight out of the local house paint store (where it no doubt came from) and contributed to the garishly grotesque appearance of these stunted humanoids with the phocomelic paddles for arms and their 'we are Devo' helmets. Thankfully, they all seem to have been replaced or repainted in dark green, though a few have been spotted well into the 21st Century. If I ever spot one that slipped through the cracks I'll be sure to post the photo.
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.