I parked on the corner of 17th and New York, mine being the only car on the block. As I lit my cigarette I noticed a steady stream of college students from GW and Georgetown, draped in flags, sprinting through the empty streets. I hadn’t anticipated this, but I had timed it right. I weaved my way to the front gate. The “USA” chants were already resonating throughout Lafayette Square but at that point I could still raise my elbows. A hundred people, maybe two. Three hours later, in the dead of night, reds and whites and blues waved as far as my eye could see. Thousands. I found myself caught up in the moment, joining in on an emotional rendition of our National Anthem. I didn’t know anyone killed in the 9/11 attacks but they were Americans, like I am, with mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters, like I have. I’d like to believe that the joy we saw last night stemmed not so much from the death of an evil man but from the hope we all share that those families might now experience some kind of closure. It was quite a night.
Ok, not really. But I did take a ride on Amtrak’s “Southwest Chief,” a sprawling, crawling, smooth ass journey from Chicago to LA via Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. For the first time in my life, a genuine “all aboard” was announced and I got on a train. Couldn’t help the stupid grin on my face as we pulled out of DC’s Union Station, destined for Chicago’s. It was Monday afternoon and I was scheduled to arrive in Vegas some 60+ hours later. Awesome.
I spent most of Monday night blowing my nose, throat all sore. Not a good start. I was popping Vitamin C drops like they were Mike & Ikes. It got dark in a hurry. I kept thinking that I should be taking pictures but I wasn’t settled in. Too self-conscious. Too eager to blend in, not be a distraction. Then the two guys behind me got drunk, then they got more drunk. Then they got into a fist fight with the Conductor and Assistant Conductor. C&AC won by decision. Then they calmed down. Then the train stopped and they went to jail. Then it was morning.
I have several mini-stories I feel like telling but I have to remind myself that this is a photoblog and I’m supposed to be a photographer, letting my photos tell the stories for me. Ohh well.
The sun came up again in Kansas, went down in Arizona. The people were so normal and so fantastic, each with their own destinations, their own uniquely boring stories. I spent hours looking out windows, snapping hundreds of banal landscapes that no one will ever see, eavesdropping on conversations about nothing.
Stupid grin on my face.
I don’t typically post links on this blog but this is just plain interesting. Vivian Meier was a Chicago street photographer from the 1950s whose work was recently “discovered” and purchased. Over 100,000 medium format negatives, and still undeveloped film remains. To this guy’s eye, John Maloof, the man who purchased this work at a furniture and antique auction, did us all a favor. I love seeing what life was like 50-60 years ago. Just cool, interesting.
Check out John Maloof’s blog about his experience, the pending documentary and the images themselves HERE
Images are © John Maloof or Vivian Meier or whoever. Not mine!
CDIA had what is now known as a “Photo Walkabout” this past Saturday. Premise is simple: meet at the school, pick a random intersection somewhere in DC, go to said intersection and roam around a two block radius for a couple hours and see what happens. I like to refer to it as “walking until something’s interesting.” I found the following things interesting. Those who know me know I love black and white, which explains why these are in black and white. So without further ado, black and white interestingness.
It’s a beautiful morning…make something good happen in the world today.
This past Saturday night I had the opportunity to work with Dannia Hakki of Moki Media once again to photograph a party at Eden, one of the hottest night spots in DC. The party was poppin’, the dance moves were crazy and they couldn’t even blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol. R&B star Ginuwine and his wife, hip hop artist Solé, hosted the event in honor of their daughter Cypress’ 16th birthday.
As you’ll see, they have a beautiful family and the event was a huge success. In lieu of gifts, Cypress asked the party-goers to make donations to the Somaly Mam Foundation, a nonprofit charity committed to ending modern day slavery and human trafficking in North America and around the world. The party raised over $2,000. In a time when sweet sixteen parties are ruined because the Escalade is the wrong color or the Gucci Couture Chanel Coach Prada handbag is the wrong size, Cypress asked that money be donated to help those less fortunate. Not that I count for anything, but I was very impressed. And they had cupcakes…so, you know…boom.
Paul Wharton, the local DC fashion guru and television personality stopped by too. It was a great night with fun people and Ginuwine even had a bit of a dance competition…Success!
All photos ©2011 David Phillipich
Happy New Year! I got a 5D Mark Deuce for Christmas (though it didn’t arrive until Tuesday). This is the 3rd image I shot with it, just about two hours ago. The first two shutter clicks were to verify proper functionality. She works…ohh, she works.
No excuses, DP. Unleash the dragon.