Protracted Conversation

Green Tractor DC Brown Tint_MPHIX

Washington DC’s Chinatown is one of my absolute favourite spots to go street shooting. The architecture has not yet befallen the modernisation that much of the nation’s capitol seems to be undergoing. It makes me want to keep shooting there before all the good stuff gets torn down and replaced by something more homogenous. As a photographer, and a historian I am truly beginning to loathe the homogeneity that many cities worldwide seem to have contracted like a voracious virus. Sure these places look cleaner and are more utilitarian, but places like New York, DC, London, and Berlin are fast losing their character. All are becoming clones of one another, and it saddens me deeply. It makes me feel as though time is running out, and that so many architectural treasures will be lost in the name of that oh so heady word, ‘progress’. There should be an equal amount of preservation as change. I’m sure the Manhattan folk thought much the same back when the Empire State Building was being erected, fearing that the character of their beloved city would be destroyed by the scarification of the skyline. I suppose it will always be that way for every generation.

Despite my objections, I do believe it’s important to photograph the changes that are occurring in DC, new as I am to the city. For my husband Bill who grew up in DC it’s quite a devastating transformation in many ways, not least because of the way it’s forcing change in the area’s social demographic. I remember feeling equally unsettled having grown up in London, and having watched the skyline very quickly change with the construction of the Canary Wharf Tower, which has been far superseded in height by the now prominent Shard. Every time I return to my home town it has changed a little more, and yet another queue of buildings has appeared as if by magic.

I’m looking forward to returning in a couple of weeks and going for a wander with my cameras in the Old Smoke, see if I can yet capture the essence of the place where I once grew up, before it disappears completely in a vaporous cloud of homogenous fairy dust!

7 thoughts

  1. The Chinese philosopher said that you can never set your foot in the same river 9words to that effect). Not being a famous philosopher, I still managed to come up with “You can never go back” … which ain’t too bad but is awesome accurate.

    Good luck …

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose you’re right. Still…

      Perhaps it’s a touch of hypocrisy on my part. The nostalgia of yesteryear only appeals with distance it seems. I had not much inclination to photograph London, for example when I was growing up trying to be a photographer. It was just too mundane and familiar. I didn’t realise then that the grime and gloom that I disliked then would become my idea of photographic heaven. I could see it when I travelled elsewhere, places like Spain that drip age in spades, but manages to look quite charming, in a dilapidated way. I just wasn’t able to apply the same logic quite yet to my immediate surroundings at that time. Also, the thought of getting my camera stolen at the time would have been a healthy deterrent. These days, nobody bats an eye. Everyone and his dog has got a camera in one form or another.
      Like you say, streams and feet, and stuff… 😉


      • Credit where it’s due—the Spaniards never had any need to burn oodles of coal just to keep warmish.
        When I returned to London in the sixties it was a foul and black place still. In the nineties it was very much cleaner, today it almost sparkles.
        And as you say too, everyone has a camera now.
        But: not everyone has your imagination, knowledge, and eye. Boom boom~!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not so sure about that, it can get pretty cold in Spain during the winter months. The further north you go the more rain and snow they have.

        ‘Tis true about London being much cleaner these days. When I was a kid I hated all the litter strewn everywhere, it was a real eye-sore, not to mention the general disheveled state of everything. Especially where I grew up in the great maw of Bermondsey.

        Thank you for your kind compliments, dearest Argie. Much appreciated! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Maria! This is a beautifully designed space and the writing Wow! Im looking forward to being here on a regular and soaking up everything that I can!… Your talents are beyond the already considerable ones that I came to know! Anyway see you soon and say hello to Bill! Ciao

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jerry! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit me here. It’s nice to see you. I hope life is treating you well.

      You are always so generous and kind with your compliments, and they are always very much appreciated. It’s funny that you say you like the look of this site as I was contemplating changing it, revamping it a little. It’s been a long while since I’ve posted on any of my blogs, but I’m undergoing a reshuffle of online outlets for my artistic pursuits. I realise that Instagram is just not the place to include anything of real substance, despite the fact that traffic is slightly higher there than it is here on WordPress. I suppose I value my creative freedom, and person to person interactions more than I value volume of likes.

      There is a ‘Follow’ button under the main menu of this site which will allow you to subscribe via email to my blog if you’re interested. Hope to see you here again soon! 🙂


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