Photos Beyond the Monuments: Ten Years of Exposed

Congrats to Exposed DC, which recently marked ten years of celebrating photography in Washington, DC. They do so with an annual photo contest that highlights a city that most tourists never get to see – the DC beyond the monuments.

I was fortunate to be in the very first show back in 2006 with my photo “Rose Runs.” It’s the daughter of a friend of mine, captured as she was walking past a graffiti-covered wall in Stead Park near Dupont Circle. The park has since been cleaned up but I liked the contrast between the innocence of youth and the grit of the city.

Rose runs

The advent of digital cameras had drawn me into photography. I took “Rose Runs” with a Canon Digital Rebel, the first of its kind, costing more than $1000. Little did I know how much photography would change in the coming years.

That first show was in a series of rooms above The Passenger, near the Convention Center. The whole building would eventually be redeveloped but, at the time, it lingered on as a bit of old, rough DC. I missed opening night but came by later with some friends – including Rose herself!

me and Rose

What was great about Exposed (then known as DCist Exposed, and tied to the DCist blog) is that it introduced me to a community of digital photogs like myself, including Samer Farha, Jim Darling, Heather Goss, Jen Wade, James Calder, Pablo Raw and other great folks. I never thought photography could be social – until Exposed.

I love good beer. I love photography. I love meeting creative types. So every year, I went to Exposed, even if I wasn’t in the contest. The show moved around the corner and for several years was at Long View Gallery, where it attracted crowds that snaked down the block. And I began taking iPhone photos, with my iPhone 4.

DCist Exposed crowd scene

This is why I am hungover #exposeddc2014 #latergram

Jim Darling

Audience at Exposed DC

DCist Exposed mag

In 2012, my photo of the Washington Monument being inspected for earthquake damage made the show. I had moved up to a Canon Rebel T2i, a faster and more capable camera than the original Rebel.

media storm

I had developed a fondness for black and white. And perhaps a tendency to get carried away with filters in Snapseed. For my interest in DSLRs was being overtaken by mobile photography, like most people. The iPhone had made photography easy, fast and social. Also, I won the Fotoweek Mobile Photography Competition in 2011, which opened my eyes to the value of iPhoneography.

Opening night at the DCist Exposed show

The Exposed parties continued, drawing a huge crowd with delicious beers and treats in 2013, including DC-themed cookies. Exposed became a wonderful blur of drinking and talking photography.

Crowd at DCist Exposed

DCist Exposed cookies

Downstairs at Exposed with @mrdarling

In 2016, Exposed was at the historic Carnegie Library in DC, one of my favorite buildings in the city. I was glad to know so many people in the show, including Angela Napili, Holly Garner, Keith Lane, Noe Todorovich, Bridget Murray Law and Victoria Pickering. I didn’t even bring my Canon Rebel but instead just pocketed my iPhone 6 – it’s good enough. The triumph of mobile photography is almost complete.

Exposed DC

me, Angela, Albert

Late bird misses out on the Exposed cake

Who knew @shutterhugdc spoke such good French? Here he is being interviewed by a French broadcaster about the Exposed show.

checking out the photos

Exposed DC has demonstrated that Washington is more than just monuments, revealing the real place beyond the iconic landmarks, as well as building a community of photographers. So, here’s to ten years of Exposed – and ten years more!

About Joe Flood

Joe Flood is a writer and photographer from Washington, DC. He is the author of the mystery novel Murder on U Street, as well as articles, short stories and screenplays. In his spare time, he likes wandering about the city with a camera.