What can we say about 2020 that hasn’t already been said? It was a frightening and devastating year, and a time of reckoning. And yet, there were also moments of victory, peace, and quiet beauty. Twenty-one local photographers help us tell 2020’s story.
George Floyd and BLM protesters confront the Secret Service at the White House Gates on the weekend of Floyd’s death.
This capture was during the weekend immediately after George Floyd’s death, when DC was overwhelmed by outraged protesters. She had been carried from the clashes on I street near the White House and immediately after this shot they picked her up again and took her, kicking and screaming, to an MPD van.
(IG: smallcraft; Flickr)
This picture is a composite of four consecutive photos of a flock of cedar waxwings, then rendered with texture and color effects. Cedar waxwings are in our area throughout the year. I’ve found some respite this year in patiently waiting for nature to reveal itself.
These bald eagles threw down for an hour and a half or so a few days before a presidential debate. The irony felt overwrought, even for nature.
The beauty of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge impressed me; a re-connection during a time of so many broken bonds.
I took this picture in March, at the beginning of the pandemic. It’s a picture of my dog @vivathevizsla looking out the front door wanting to get outside, yet probably feeling trapped inside like we all do 9 months into this pandemic.
I took this picture at the growing memorial for RBG at the Supreme Court in September. There was so much to dissent to this year. 2020, “we dissent” to it all.
From January through December, I have been in the streets for Climate, Justice, Human Rights, and In Memoriam. I don’t think we will ever know how this year has changed our country and ourselves.
(IG: mikijourdan; Flickr)
This photo of Erin Jeannier performing at the Wharf DC’s Mardi Gras celebration gives no hint of what we had in store just a month later. Look at the huge crowd, and not a mask in sight!
In August, Charlene Carruthers performed Freedomside in Black Lives Matter Plaza. Freedomside is a liberation chant based on the protest song, “Which Side Are You On?” It was recorded by OnRaé LaTeal in support of the BLM movement. More on LaTeal’s work in this post.
I spent most of 2020 in two places, Rock Creek Park and Black Lives Matter Plaza. Of the many photos I’ve taken this year, these two photos stood out to me the most.
Not the best shots for the year but maybe ones that show the spectrum of emotions. Both snaps were captured November 7, 2020 when the AP reported that Biden was projected to win enough Electoral College votes to become the President Elect. There was celebration and an emotional outpouring that things were going to change. People celebrated the new administration and the future, and saluted the old administration and the past. Little did people know there would be turmoil and frustration and danger nearly two months later.
Sitting atop a little hill across from the Constitution Gardens Carp Pond, she had created a peaceful oasis in the middle of the tumultuous and strife-ridden environment that has particularly defined the District in 2020. Every time I come across this photo it makes me smile…and relax.
This Santa was not just hamming it up for the camera. He exuded positive energy, throwing everything into each song, and in general doing his best to bring Christmas cheer to his corner of the world just across the street from the Downtown Holiday Market. I was delighted when I captured the fleeting moment when this gal, in those great stockings, leaned in to show her appreciation.
Protestors confront the Secret Service in front of the Old Executive Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue. Lafayette Park and access to the White House had been barricaded. Protestors were there in a second day of DC protests against the police brutality in the death of George Floyd. However, after days of taunts from the President, the protest had featured strong anti-Trump chants.
One of my favorite things to capture while out and about are vintage cars. While entirely out of reach to own and maintain beauties like the 65 Alfa Romeo Giulia or a 61 Alpine A110, it’s nice to spot a couple of Brits in my own neighborhood.
At the beginning of summer, National Guard troops occupied the streets and monuments of DC, including the Lincoln Memorial. Long after they vacated the city, protests against racial injustice continued.
As the summer drew to a close, the nation mourned the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The outpouring of love and offerings outside of the Supreme Court was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.
A moment of persistence and fearlessness during this year: when the arches on the new Frederick Douglass bridge were completed, a tradition dating back to ancient times was followed – hauling a tree to the highest point on the structure. A construction worker is taking a photo of himself beside the tree.
Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton was speaking at McPherson Square when the Jumbotron in back of her suddenly announced Biden as the winner, and she and the crowd went wild.
Daniel Scott Ruben
(IG: arpixa; Flickr)
The first photo is from pre-COVID times (which seems like an eternity ago), taken at an ARTECHOUSE exhibit only a couple of weeks before we went into quarantine and all public spaces were shut down. This reminds me of that experience when the world was still ‘normal’ and it was perfectly fine to enjoy an artistic exhibit with tons of people around. The photo itself is of a solitary person (a friend) caught in the digital grid so to speak, and uncannily appears to portend the future where we are trapped, often in isolation. And yet, there is a sense of movement, which reflects a hope for the future.
The second photo is particularly meaningful, both photographically and personally. It includes the silhouette of my son, a reflection, a sunset, and is quintessentially about DC – a place I love, and the place where I have been with my family throughout 2020, in the absence of travel – discovering and rediscovering it, getting creative with capturing imagery in and around the city.