When I traveled to Virginia last week to see my new grandson I was delighted to find this scene outside the window of my hotel room in Alexandria.
I’m pretty sure one of my first photo shoots back in 1976 when I was a freshman in college was in a cemetery. I still hold a fascination for them….for the serenity I find there, for the untold stories of the people interred on the grounds, and visually, for the beauty that happens to stone and memorials when time has weathered them.
A bonus, on the first morning I was there, was the fog that shrouded this cemetery, adding yet another aspect of “weathering” to my experience.
Washington DC is full of magnificent buildings and museums, each one wonderful in its own way, but there’s one particular building that calls to me and literally pulls me in when I visit the city. Located just a few blocks from the Gallery Place Metro stop, it’s a building that was commissioned by President Andrew Jackson in 1836 to house the Patent Office.
It’s an impressive building on the outside and is considered one of the finest examples of Greek Revival public architecture in the United States. But it’s what’s inside this building that draws me there. I’m first taken in with the attention to detail…the intricately tiled floors, the etched windows, the gracefully curving staircases, the grandeur the building carries.
However, it’s not just the building that draws me in, it’s the art contained within. This building now houses both the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum and while I always enjoy the temporary exhibits on display, it’s the permanent works of art that keep me coming back.
When I seek out and find these pieces I feel as if I’m visiting old friends, friends who know me and I, them.
Leaving the noise, traffic and crowded of sidewalks of DC to step inside this building always feels like coming home.