• Architecture

    Hobnobbing with Gargoyles

    On Saturday evening, Exposed DC and Washington National Cathedral hosted Gutters & Gargoyles, a behind-the-scenes photo op into some of the hidden corners of the Cathedral not typically open to the public. Several DC Focused photographers were on hand for the fun, capturing the Cathedral from a variety of angles. Feature image © 2016 angela n.   Gargoyles & Grotesques As Victoria Pickering noted in a post from last year, many of the 112 stone figures that adorn the Cathedral aren’t gargoyles at all. Technically, they’re grotesques. Grotesques are decorative figures while gargoyles incorporate water spouts that protect the building from water damage. Still, whatever you call them, these critters…

  • Architecture

    Union Station is back!

    It’s been a long five years with scaffolding up at Union Station to repair the earthquake damage. It’s been even longer, 50 years in fact, since the main hall offered the unobstructed view intended by Daniel Burnham when he designed it in 1907. But now it has been restored to its glory:     Look at how open it is – no restaurant hovering over the center, no large planters, just the open space:     So go there soon – you’ll be astonished by the light. And if you are trying to photograph it, good luck – it’s such an interesting subject, but the strong light coming in the…

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  • Architecture

    De-construction on L Street

    Watching a building demolition is usually a combination of sadness at the waste and awe at the process. It’s especially poignant to watch the Washington Post building come down with all its history. Demolition is scheduled to continue 24 hours a day until sometime next month. Here are photos from this weekend:           Here’s how the front of the building looks now, and below that is how it looked on the day the paper was sold to Jeff Bezos.       The Post moved into the new building on L St. in 1951, and expanded around the corner on 15th St. in 1972. The 15th…

  • Architecture,  Events

    DC bids farewell to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

      These are photos from Friday when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s body was brought to the U.S. Supreme Court where it lay in repose overnight. His funeral was Saturday. Featured image © Tapan Bhargava was posted to the DC Focused Facebook group. More images from DC Focused community members below. [divider line_type=”Small Line” custom_height=””] [divider line_type=”Small Line” custom_height=””] [divider line_type=”Small Line” custom_height=””]

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  • Architecture,  Featured

    It’s Brutal in D.C.

    Brutalist architecture took over much of Washington in the 60’s to 80’s. Some love it, some hate it, and all of us live with it daily. So we decided to challenge the D.C. Focused photography community to photograph it in all its glorious ugliness, and here is what we saw: The Farragut Building 900 17th St. NW Completed: 1963   The Robert S. Strauss Building 1333 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W. Completed: 1978   DC Jail 1901 D St. SE Completed: 1976   Hirshhorn Museum Architect: Gordon Bunshaft Completed: 1974   L’Enfant Plaza The overall design of the L’Enfant Plaza complex was created by I.M.Pei & Partners.   L’Enfant Plaza South…

  • Architecture

    Tips on photographing buildings

    As we are in the middle of our self-declared Brutalism Week (details on it), we wanted to share some tips on how to take interesting photographs of buildings. 1. Go for something different Most buildings in D.C. have been photographed thousands of times.  For a different photo, look for an interesting juxtapostion, like Rob Cannon did when photographing the historic Franklin School: or this capture by Beau Finley:   2. It’s all in the details Building details can make great compositions:   3. Add people People can add interest or a sense of scale when photographing buildings: Or add pigeons:   4. Look for reflections There are often interesting reflections…

  • Architecture

    Photo op at the Cathedral

    Once a year, the Cathedral clears its chairs to the side and offers visitors a unique view of the open interior. There are many events during “Seeing Deeper” week, including a chance for photographers to go in the mornings.  I went today, and you can still get tickets for Wednesday or Thursday.  Of course, the place is loaded with photographers and tripods, so you can’t get an uninterrupted view of the whole space.  But what you will see is the light pouring in through the windows, with the stained glass reflections creating colors that are exuberantly and garishly neon.               The session for photographers…

  • Architecture,  Featured

    D.C., as seen through its doors

    Two years ago on New Year’s Day, I was sitting around thinking it would be good to start a photography project. Since I only had until the end of the day to figure out a project if I wanted to do something daily, I didn’t have much time to think. And a quick search quashed lots of my ideas because I found out they’d already been done by someone else. So I finally settled on photographing doors, resolving to post a photo of a door in D.C. every day. I got more and more interested in it over time, finding out lots about history, and how complicated zoning and preservation…

  • Architecture,  Meetups

    Exploring the forgotten Capital City Market

      You can find beauty everywhere, even amid the trash strewn alleys and graffiti covered walls of the old Capital City Market. The four to five block area used to be a center of  activity as a wholesale and retail hub for fruits, vegetables and meats. A 2006 blurb in the Washington Post described the bustle of forklifts, trucks and cars and an array of concessions selling “hot food such as crab cakes with french fries and halal or kosher turkey sausage and half-smokes.”  As the Post put it, “The mix of cultures and diversity of food stuffs is aesthetically stimulating.” These days, there are still some businesses operating in the old…

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  • Architecture

    Gargoyles and Grotesques

    Pop quiz: Do you know the difference between a gargoyle and a grotesque?  Identify which is which in the image below:     Answer:  Both images are grotesques – a grotesque is a decorative figure.  But only the one on the left is also a gargoyle.  Gargoyles have waterspouts to drain water away from the Cathedral. There are 112 gargoyles and grotesques at the Washington National Cathedral.  Some look friendly:     Others look scary:     The master carvers at the Cathedral showed their craft and artistry in the wide variety of figures they created. These aren’t simple statues that they made and then attached to the Cathedral. They…

  • Architecture,  Arts

    The Workhouse

      Nestled among the hills north of the Occoquan River, a short drive out of D.C., lies the Workhouse Arts Center.  The Workhouse occupies part of the massive and sprawling former Lorton Correctional Complex, D.C.’s prison for nearly a century.  Formerly home to Nike Hercules missiles, force-fed and beaten suffragists, and many others (including Chuck Brown and Norman Mailer), the Workhouse now consists of galleries, a theatre, the Metropolitan School of the Arts, several artist studios, a small museum, and the Art of Movement. This past weekend, Jeff Gorrell, who has a studio at the Workhouse, gave a presentation on his artistic process.  Gorrell is a watercolorist who uses Yupo, a…