It’s All In The Attitude

The Container

Is it possible to find happiness inside a commercial shipping container? Obviously, the answer to this question depends on a whole slew of factors. But be that as it may, my interest remains on those who would actually answer “yes” to this sort of question. This is specially the case in big cities like Washington, DC where long, sour faces have become the modern Venetian masks of the average worker. Ever ride the metro during the rush morning or afternoon hours? You would be forgiven for thinking that smiling has been officially banned in the city. More than that, you could also be forgiven for thinking that you have become invisible, or transparent at the very least. No eye contact, no acknowledgement of your presence, and definitely no smiling. Strangers doing their best to ignore each other while sharing the same space, the same direction, and the same universe.

But then, when you least expect it and are about to give up on humanity, something different happens. Right there in the middle of grumpy city, and inside a hot metal shipping container, the very meaning of happiness and friendliness. No suits, no high-paying job, no ideal working conditions, and no high-flying college diploma on the wall. Just the mere presence of a photographer looking into the container was enough to do away with invisibility. As if being transported into another Second World galaxy, I was suddenly blinded by the toothy smile of an alien DC character and his incredible good attitude. An unsolicited display of friendship immediately followed, ending in a gladiators’ duel of who could express the most effusive “great talking to you” goodby. Walking away with my camera, I couldn’t help but think of the words uttered by the late Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh: “There is a brief moment when all there is in a man’s mind and soul and spirit is reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude. This is the moment to record.” A chance encounter, a lifted spirit, and a much needed shot of faith in humanity. Away I went with a little more bounce on my steps and a much needed reminder of the power of good attitude.


Graffiti Politics In Adams Morgan

You may want to read the writing on the wall before moving to DC.  Leica M 240,
You may want to read the writing on the wall before moving to DC. Leica M 240, Zeiss Ikon 35mm f/2 T* ZM Biogon.

In Washington, DC, everything is about politics, even the graffiti.  It definitely feels that way, as this wall in the Adams Morgan neighborhood seems to attest.  I have to admit that I have photographed this wall several times in the past, but for some strange reason, this latest time around it kind of got my attention.  It is as if I had missed the writing in the past.  So what’s the big deal?  Admittedly, not much, but what I like is how this graffiti captures the nature of this neighborhood.  A bit chaotic, never the cleanest one, multi-ethnic, and rowdy.  Without a doubt one of the best places to hang out in DC, specially at night.  Just keep your eyes wide open, as there’s a lot happening under the surface.