Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Daily DC Item: Ann Curry Explores Darfour Through Photos

Courtesy Washington School of Photography/Ann Curry

Courtesy Washington DC School of Photography/Ann Curry

I learned via Ann Curry’s twitter feed that the Washington DC School of Photography opened a new exhibition of photos taken by Curry. The images were taken during her reporting from Chad and the Darfur region of Sudan. The exhibit opened last Friday and will run through Friday, June 5th. In an interview for Roll Call Curry says, “I’ve been interested in still photography all my life, but I think that I did not take it up in earnest until the night I left for my first trip to the Darfur region..”

As a daily viewer of the Today Show, I’m a fan of Ann Curry and I just might have to take a look next time I’m up in Maryland.

Amtrak Revises Photo Policy

Union Station Interior

Union Station Interior*

In recent months, you may have read about photographers who have reported being harassed by Amtrak police/personnel, and sometimes even having their photos destroyed, while trying to work inside picturesque Union Station in DC.  Well, Photo District News just tweeted that Amtrak (in cooperation with the National Press Photographers’ Association [NPPA]) has finally revamped their photography policy and published new guidelines for everyone to follow, nationwide.  Hooray!

Best of all in my book, is the news that “[a]n important aspect of the new photo guideline says that while nothing in the new photo policy limits or expands the authority of Amtrak police to investigate what a photographer is doing, ‘the taking of photographs and/or video may not, in and of itself, rise to the level of reasonable suspicion or probable cause.'”  Many of us have seen innocent tourists get harassed around town, and it is nice to see someone acknowledge that tourists like to, you know, take pictures.

Now, Union Station (as well as many other stations and rights-of-way around the country) is operated, in part, by a private management company….which has been the source of much of the confusion inside Union Station.    And while Amtrak is trying to help us out, it looks like that confusion might continue.   Though Jones Lang LaSalle, the management company for the commercial section of the station, does have a published form to request Union Station as a film or photo production site (for movies or professional photo shoots), there’s still no stated policy about amateur photography inside the managed portion of the building….though the JLL website does contain a photo gallery.   Confusing!

As the NPPA’s counsel stated, “My only caution is that while Amtrak operates nationwide many of its stations and right-of-ways throughout the country are operated by an array of property management companies…Those companies may or may not adopt these guidelines. Unfortunately the public has no way of knowing that when all they see is the familiar Amtrak logo. I still strongly believe that regardless of the ownership public areas are considered a public forum where first amendment protections for photography would apply.”

So, shutterbugs, be on the lookout for zealous JLL security personnel when trying to shoot inside and around the station…and let us know if you notice any changes with the implementation of the new policy!

* Photo used under a Creative Commons License by flickr user morning_rumtea

Wednesday’s child

After work yesterday, I was walking from the bus stop to the Swanky Safeway (I love you, Circulator) and spotted this lonely skeleton:

What once was useful, has been discarded

What once was useful, has been discarded

It’s not exactly providing the trash bin with shelter from the elements.  Why not fold it up before trashing it?   What color was the umbrella, before it lost its skin?  Did it have fun polkadots?  Was it the usual DC Black?  Did it bear the logo of one of this town’s myriad law firms?

Preview: American History Museum

In three days the National Museum of American History reopens to the general public. I was fortunate to tour the renovated building yesterday.

The first thing I notice as I step through the Mall entrance of the American History Museum is how light it is. A skylight brightens the three story atrium and the artifacts, like a home computer circa 1985, that line the walls in 10 ft. cases. A grand staircase constructed of metal and glass connects the first and second floors.

As I walk into the Selin Welcome Center, videos preview some of the events and special exhibits on the four flat screens as helpful volunteers provide maps and membership information.


DC Fotoweek Contest Deadline Tonight

FotoWeek DC‘s photo contest ends tonight 11:59 p.m. PDT, so East Coast amateur and professional photographers have until the early morning hours to submit their best images for Spirit of Washington DC, Best of Show and Gold, Silver and Honorable Mention awards in categories including commercial/advertising art, architecture, fine art, personal project, photojournalism/editorial and wedding. Prizes total $37,000 and include cash and goodies like Chrome Imaging and Penn Camera shopping sprees. Finalists will also be exhibited at FotoWeek’s central hub in Georgetown.

The city’s so-called “premier photography event of 2008” could arguably transcend any other from any year. Featuring a slew of sponsors from the national and regional photography, art and culture scene, the November 15-22 event will feature citywide lectures, workshops, exhibitions, portfolio reviews and will end with a Saturday gala at the National Geographic Society’s Grosvenor Auditorium.

The DC Fotoweek Blog highlights sponsors, exhibit spaces and event news.

Nationals Picnic in the Park

From Nats Picnic at the Park

Good Morning Washington-

Another week of banging our heads against our collective desks is upon us.  Hopefully you had a little fun in the wonderful weather this past weekend.  I, for one, made it over to Nationals Park on Saturday afternoon to attend the “Picnic in the Park” hosted by the Washington Nationals.  Open to season ticket holders (I had a 20 game package) the Nationals threw open not just the front gates but granted access to all sorts of parts of the park usually off limits.

Freebies, raffles, players signing autographs all over the park, walking tours of the Diamond Club and President’s club boxes (which really is more like a class restaurant that just happens to have access to home plate seats) and, oh yeah, getting to run the friggin’ bases and sit in the dugout! made for one of my favorite trips to a ballpark, any ballpark, ever.  We also got to walk around the outfield, throw a pitch in the bullpen (which I didn’t do-line was too long) and sit in any seat in the house we wanted.  For those that haven’t had the luxury, let me share what I’ve learned:

-Hitting the ball to the outfield, let alone to the warning track or a home run, is really far.  When you’re on the ground you can see it’s a lot farther than it seems from the seats.

-Same with the 90 ft between bases.

-the ground base paths are pretty firm, and the grass is actually beautiful up close.

-The seats down by home plate?  They have cushioned seats and backing-they are also wider I think.

-Being in the President’s box is in no way a “true” or “genuine” going to the ball game experience.   You wouldn’t even know there was a field there if someone didn’t tell you.  That said, I fully intend on somehow doing it next year.

The only thing we didn’t see that I would have liked to was the press box and to walk on the grass-but with a game on Saturday night (the second of three straight losses to the Padres) it was understandable that they kept us off it.  While I’m sure it wasn’t even close to the emotional/cool factor of walking around Yankee’s Stadium on Sunday it was pretty special for me and I hope to do it again.  My personal pics are available via the link above (not a photographer keep in mind) and the Nationals can be seen just three more times as a team in DC this year as they roll over for host the Florida Marlins this week. (A good chance to see our 100th loss this season up close and personal.  Don’t worry, you’ll be able to tell them that “you were there when…” someday.)

Smithsonian on Flickr

Smithsonian Birthday on the Mall 1996 The Smithsonian has joined The Commons on Flickr, which started as a pilot between the Library of Congress and Flickr to increase access to publicly-held photo collections and allow the public to contribute knowledge and information (such as tags) to those collections.

The Smithsonian’s photostream contains some fantastic gems, including portraits of scientists, cyanotypes cataloging the Smithsonian’s other collections, and cool photos from past Folklife festivals.

Go look, add some tags, but be careful- much like the LOC collections, you can find yourself losing hours poking around at this stuff.

Delegate Norton Six Kinds of Pissed at Union Station

ehn.png There’s a lot of people you don’t want to make angry. Anyone who has Guido & Nails on their staff, Jose Canseco, Bill Clinton, The Ghost of LBJ, Bruce Banner, and now, please add to the list Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who went postal all over LaSalle, who manage Union Station and have tried to declare the building as private property to enforce some peculiar security rules. This quote is via Joel Lawson and Lightbox DC:

“I’m astounded that Union Station would be declared private property, when we [Congress] issued the lease…” “…We’re going to have hearings,” Norton warned, “because it’s going to be us, the Congress, or it’s going to be the courts. Somebody is going to sue, straight out, and I can tell you that the Supreme Court precedents are as clear as water on this.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Delegate Norton for getting up yesterday with a whole sack of angry that needed to be unleashed.

DC Icon: Conception Picciotto


It’s a rare thing to catch a photo like this of Ms. Picciotto. An icon of DC, she has been protesting the use of nuclear arms since the 80’s, through the Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II administrations. No doubt she will be parked on the north side of the White House through the Clinton/Obama/McCain era too. While her dedication is admirable, it’s obvious that her efforts are falling on deaf ears. Regardless, God bless America, a country that gives us to right to protest in peace.

From what I’ve heard, Concepcion is rather camera shy which is what caught my eye when I saw this photo by Mai-Trang Dang. I asked Mai if she had to ask Picciotto for permission to take her photo but she evidently was in the mood to vogue that day. According to Mai:

    She posed for 7-8 shots, at least. She had just put down a sign she was holding up while chanting her protest about Bush…I can’t remember exactly what it said. I work right next to Lafayette Park, so I see her quite often, usually on the way to lunch. I’ve heard the secret service guys talk about how she’s got an apartment somewhere, but I’ve never asked her about it. It seems plausible; to be blunt, she doesn’t have the odor of someone who’s actually living in Lafayette Park and she does change her clothes daily, as far as I’ve noticed.

I’ve tried to make heads or tails of this website dedicated to her story, but my eyes and brain start to hurt within a few minutes. I don’t know if Conception (aka “Connie”) is mentally capable of holding a normal conversation, but if so, it would make for an interesting interview indeed.

Has anyone else taken any good photos of her? If so, please share, and tell us what you know about her.

Union Station Shuts Down Fox 5

AmtrakGuard.png We reported earlier that photography at Union Station, despite being Carl’s favorite space to take photos, was getting to be a real challenge, even though photography in the incredibly beautiful Union Station is allowed both by Amtrak and by LaSalle Partners who maintains the space. Fox 5 News has gotten involved, and interviewed local photographer Joel Lawson about getting hassled when he pointed out that photography in Union Station was perfectly legal and acceptable.

What was hilarious, though, was Fox 5, while interviewing an Amtrak spokesman, was shut down by Union Station security for conducting an interview at Union Station. The security guard was unable to explain the policy, and refused to answer questions regarding the policy at the facility, and LaSalle Partners, who operate the mall portion of Union Station, wouldn’t respond in any way, shape or form to media inquiries.

It’s really bullshit that we can’t even ask what the rules are, or how they should be construed. How can we be respectful and participatory in our practice of photography if you won’t talk to us about what they want respected and why. This is the kind of thing that gets people up in arms and more than a little upset.

Figure it out, Union Station, and welcome shutterbugs.

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