Picturing D.C.: Torpedo Factory photographers see our nation’s capital anew

Colleen Henderson, “Capitol Columns”

 On Monday, as crowds from across the country gather on the National Mall for Inauguration Day, they’ll find themselves surrounded by stately architecture, symbols of power, and places of solemn remembrance. Many will be experiencing Washington, D.C., for the first time—but whether you’re a newcomer, a regular visitor, or a proud native, we invite you to stop by the Torpedo Factory, where local landmarks are a recurring sight on our artists’ canvasses, and where our photographers will show you the nation’s capital from unexpected angles.

“Washington is home to me,” says photographer Colleen Henderson. “It’s where I’ve always lived, it’s familiar, full of memories, and what I know best.” As Henderson recently explained on her blog, she seeks inspiration on snowy nights when some of the city’s busiest places are abandoned and dark. One of her black-and-white images of a still and wintry Constitution Gardens was recently acquired by the Federal Reserve, and her pigment print of the columns at the National Arboretum is a Torpedo Factory favorite.

Part of her job as an artist, Henderson says, is finding magic in places she thought she already knew. “Sometimes I choose to visit a new location to drink in all the sights and sounds it has to offer,” she explains, “but I also have great respect for the familiar, for the ordinary, for places I know and understand more deeply.”

Craig Sterling, “U.S. Capitol Rotunda”

Craig Sterling faces the same exhilarating challenge in photographing Washington’s monuments and buildings, not only because these iconic landmarks serve as the backdrop to his daily life, but also because the public has seen them so often in books, on postcards, in movies and television shows, and as backdrops to historic moments.

“Maybe because I’m a photographer, I see them from an entirely different perspective than most individuals,” he says, adding that living in D.C. for most of his life gives him a rare opportunity to show tourists and locals alike exactly what he sees.

“Washington is not only a symbol of freedom and democracy, it’s also a very romantic city, and I strive to communicate this romanticism and timelessness in my images,” he says. “When people see my work for the first time, they typically exclaim, ‘I’ve seen that before—but not in that way!'”

Check out Colleen Henderson’s photography at the Torpedo Factory in studio 312, the Multiple Exposures Gallery, and learn more about her work at her personal web site.  See more of Craig Sterling’s photography in studio 305 and at www.craigsterling.com, and follow his blog, Beyond the F-Stop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *