DCist Exposed: Who Are These People?

Opening night at DCist Exposed
Opening night at DCist Exposed 2013

What does the brave new world of photography look like? It looks a lot like the DCist Exposed show wrapping up this weekend at Long View Gallery.

In an era when digital images are ubiquitous, and everyone has a cellphone camera, what does it mean to be a photographer? Is a photographer someone who has expensive gear? Someone who works for pay? A person who understands ISO and exposure?

We are all photographers now. This is liberating and terrifying all at once. It’s liberating for millions who can now use inexpensive cameras and free apps to pursue their artistic vision. And it’s terrifying for anyone who hopes to make a living at this trade.

You can see the results in DCist Exposed. I’ve been in the show twice myself and think it’s a great celebration of photography. You can learn a lot from the show. It offers the opportunity to look at familiar landmarks in a new light.

I’ve seen the Capitol a million times but never from the terrace of the Newseum like this photo from Victoria Pickering. Another familiar landmark is seen in Memorial Day by Gary Silverstein.

But the show also offers off the beaten path looks at the city like the abstract lines of Hockney by Jim Darling and river speed by Bryan Bowman.

Running Around the Tree by Eric Purcell is my favorite from the show.

What fascinates me about DCist Exposed is that it’s done by ordinary folks. The show is not curated by a Gallery Director and populated by the obscure work of pierced art students. It’s a scene unknown to local art mandarins, leading an Atlantic magazine columnist to sniff, “Who are these people?”

Instead, the curators are people who have day jobs in government and the photos come from lawyers, web developers and other prosaic professions.

And that’s why the show is such a success. Like the DC Shorts Film Festival (which I’m also involved with), DCist Exposed is a show open to all with a populist sensibility.

Organized, curated and promoted by amateurs with cameras, the future of photography looks a lot like DCist Exposed. Go see it.

DCist Exposed: March 25 – April 7, 2013
Long View Gallery
1234 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
Wednesday-Saturday 11-6
Sunday 12-5

Author: Joe Flood

Joe Flood is the author of The Swamp, a funny new novel that mocks the city America has come to hate.

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