You might expect our nation’s capitol to heavily politicized, especially in the current geopolitical times we live within now. However, aside from the protests in front of the White House, I found such to be largely untrue. Rather, there was a culture of history, honor and tradition to be found. Everywhere from the Smithsonian Museums to the all monuments and all the federal and national buildings between, there was an effect of past still inaction of the present— all that the United States was based and found upon and the zeal that came in tandem with it still living, breathing, curated and lingering within reality.
Before returning to DC, I had not been for nearly a decade. Of all the places I have visited, very few had as many expectations to them as what I attached to my return to the Nation’s Capitol. What had changed since my last visit was that instead of simply rekindling my attachment to the area, I was there to capture it and its essence with my photography. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a feeling of paramount importance in anywhere I have shot to do the best I could at capturing it as I did returning to Washington DC. My time there was brief, but enough. As I wondered, shot, and visited, I was once again immersed in the one of a kind culture of DC and reminded just how truly great out nation is for so many different reasons.
The price of freedom is not cheap. When you look around the world at the likes of Turkey, China, Russia, North Korea or Venezuela, this becomes painfully clear. So much of the world lives under tyrannical rule and here in the United States, we have liberties and rights that so many others can only dream of possessing themselves. The fact we can use social media as we want, protest just what we want, vote how we want, move, life and do just about what we want, all of it is a blessing that for billions of people simply isn’t reality. I couldn’t help but just be grateful for this nation and all those who came before to shape it into what it has become. No matter the political stance or beliefs, it seemed everyone else who I came across was largely in some sort of similar sense of perspective of awe and appreciation- likely not exactly like what I had been experiencing, but similar.
Perhaps for me the most magical moment was standing across the reflecting pool from the Abraham Lincoln Memorial at sunset. The words from his Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural speech granted within the walls of the monument resonated in my conscious as I squared up my tripod to capture a few photos before the sun completely vanished. I felt a great sense of connection then as I watched the last of the sunlight fade- to all the people who had come before me and had stood in all the places I had gone in DC, to every memorable event and happening in US history I could think of, all of those who had sacrificed and built our nation, DC’s culture and those I stood presently then with. Everything that I had thought, seen or experienced, cohesively came together and clicked within that one small moment of time. I was just one small person one one given day in the tapestry of everything that is and has been of our country, but I was nonetheless apart of it, fully aware then with an acuity I believe is seldomly felt, capturing one of what was one of many beautiful sunsets over the National Mall.
Now, one particular image of all the rest from that moment transports me back to my time in DC, the one below. After all is said and done, that is part of the beauty of photography, it’s ability to transport you back into a place and time and bring on the all the thoughts, feelings, and memories of a moment as if you’r reliving it all over again. And in this particular instance, how apt is that with what DC in is culture is itself?