District of Columbia

First night in Washington. It was midnight by the time we were settled and found a meal, but having a hotel a few blocks from the White House made it too easy to wander.

Around the corner, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building was almost completely covered in scaffolding.

Coming from Canada I was initially startled by scenes like this chest thumping American patriotism (even amongst renovations) which seemed to imitate Nazi aesthetic. I don’t know if it is just because I am foreign, but the American flag and accompanying styling impress upon me none of the comfort that I imagine is intended. As a visitor, these displays served mostly as dramatic and frequent reminders that I am personally conflicted over what America represents in the world today.

Nevertheless, I was there to work and do my part in Ameruhkee. At the conference center things were still quiet apart from the impressive security presence. I was there a few days early for setup.

Since we had no internet access yet in the room in which we were meant to work, the only option was to walk out into the common areas for wifi. Checkin’ da e-mail.

Andrew standing in front of the racks where I did most of my work.

I thought I’d get this shot and then another when it was full of people, but I later learned that full of people made me not so inspired.

We arrived on the east coast in to a record breaking heat wave. Forecast: “Highs of 38 °C. Feels like: 42 °C.” Awesome.

In the crew meal room I went in to decisive moment capturing mode.

Since it was so amazing to me I had to go back to see that building again.

But this time continued on to the National WWII Memorial as the evening began to set in. It sits at the other end of the reflecting pool, opposite the Lincoln Memorial.

Lincoln Memorial in the background. Shooting 1/4 s by that point.

Fortunately, they keep ol’ Abe pretty well lit.

I had to switch angles after I began to appreciate how dominant his hands and feet were.

Sitting out on the steps infront of Abe looking across the reflecting pool.

After some long days at work we finally found an opportunity to head to the Smithsonian.

A glimpse of the DC metro. Which was interesting to be inside after playing Fallout 3.

Right here we’re riding what was perhaps the most incredible escalator I’ve ever ridden. At first I actually thought there was a performance going on up ahead outside, some kind of drunk saxophonist, then I realized that no; it was actually the escalator, moaning, wheezing and grinding its way around and around. That’s at the Archives station, by the way, in case they still haven’t fixed it.

Also, you can find the shot from the other side a couple images down over on this internet web site.

With so many options and not enough time our group split in two, half heading to the National Museum of Natural History and half to the Air and Space Museum.

Crossing the park in front of the Capitol. If you’re keen you’ll find the ball.

That was right outside the McDonald’s built in to the side of the Smithsonian. They might actually use that to drive hamburger buns around.

Once inside I hung out with my buddy in the space station. I really didn’t end up making much photography there because our time was limited and I wanted to read and look at things while I had the chance.

For some reason I kept thinking of Reporter in Generation Kill, and then my buddy JJ walked up and said the same fuckin thing.

The Soviet half of the Apollo-Suyuz Test Project. A recreation of it anyway.

The Hubble Test Telescope.

JJ in front of the SS-20 and Pershing-II nuclear missiles.

We had dinner at a secret destination one evening. It was a long, mysterious drive and when we got there the tables were sticky, but the food was alright. The deep-fried dill pickles were interesting.

Riding on a bus to some place called the Newseum where there was a party that night.  I saw that on the way.

Then I saw this which I rushed to get since the bus was unloading. But I didn’t notice those fellas entering the frame.

Newseum turned out to be very interesting and I ended up mostly ignoring the party and wandering the exhibits which were almost empty due to the private function. It is basically a museum dedicated to journalism and they have some fascinating displays including the largest section of the Berlin Wall to be found outside of Germany. Nearby there is also a three-story East German guard tower that once stood near Checkpoint Charlie. All very humbling to stand amongst, even so displaced of context.

I was going to make a photo of another section and then these guys stood there.

This is the Journalists Memorial. Here are honored the names of over 2000 reporters, photographers, and broadcasters whose lives have been lost while at work.

Once out of the party we jumped on a bicycle taxi that gave us a tour through more of the city. I hadn’t been to the Jefferson Memorial yet, but I also hadn’t been to the bathroom in a while so I took the opportunity to pee in some of his nice bushes.

Him again.

The WWII Memorial at night.

I made this photo mostly because it resonated perfectly with almost everything I had seen so far in DC. The dedication made to remembrance is stronger in this place anywhere else I’ve been. Sometimes I thought that it was difficult to judge whether this imposition of self-importance was legitimate or just dramatic. But mostly it was awe inspiring because where I come from our ancestors are not celebrated with such extravagance.

The last night of the conference, and one more party.

Some sort of art.

Our last night in DC. My team got together and went out for some drinks. The next day we were splitting up for different destinations.

And that was DC. Next stop, New York.

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4 Comments

  1. Incredibly proud of my photographer son, very impressive shots Travis, thanks for posting them all, look forward to seeing more of New York.. : )

  2. Waoh to the scaffolding shots and yeah… for the first time ever i’m kinda curious about Washington, if only for it’s super reverence of the recent past & everything.

    Great post. Could use more skunks though.

  3. Obama has been the strongest President in decades, if not all time. He’s brought hope back by bringing peace to Iraq, improving the economy, and fixing all of Bush’s policy abominations in his first term. His fiscal genius has restored America’s pride on the world stage, and anyone who argues against his efficacy is clearly simply just a racist.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Hargo. We’re honoured to feature a comment straight out of obama.txt here on affectuoso.ca

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