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When Washington Lobbies Pony Up for Budding Photojournalists

August 23, 2009

The past few days I’ve been in Washington DC at a Campus Progress training summit.  We’ve been talking about effective journalism, writing good ledes, weighing the ethics of journalism against the challenges of being a college student, and other important facets of the profession.

One of my assignments is to take some digital photographs and construct a brief blog post on the best three of them.  I am not a good photographer.  But I have learned a few basic tactics that might help me to take better pictures in the future, or at least recognize when a photo might be worth saving and circulating.DSCN1077

I stepped outside of the Center for American Progress headquarters and ambled down a few blocks toward the White House.  It’s always good to be in close proximity to Mr. Obama when one works with such progressive movements.  Today the weather is clear, medium humidity, and sunny, but in prior nights we strolled across 1600 Pennsylvania and saw Barack out on the White House front porch smoking a cigarette (his last remaining vice) and staring wistfully into the night.DSCN1070

Today, the Obamas are gone, on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, and so DC housekeepers are busily working.  Late summer cleaning includes a good pressure wash of the White House exterior.

Walking on, I ran into several protesters, of specious origins, who have camped out in front of the White House.  There are voices for peace, voices for war, and voices that cannot be discerned.

One man was shooting (a picture) his friend in front of the White House.  I immediately jumped at the opportunity, thinking of it as a great juxtaposition with the backdrop of peace advocates.  Note how aggressively he documents his achievement, as if he’s a test case for Walker Percy’s model tourist.  I’m using the rule of thirds here, which apparently is good for the human eye:DSCN1072

A few blocks later, I paused for a meditative reflection on nature and culture.  In the foreground rests a tree, carefully cultivated on a street across from the United States Treasury.  Will the financial policies of our nation lead us to ecological ruin?DSCN1086

And finally, I returned to my hotel, which rests a few blocks from St. Matthew’s Cathedral.  It’s front boasts an incredibly sharp image of the pilot of the Galilean Lake.  It reminded me that we live in a nation that badly needs Matthew’s message of radical separation between God’s Kingdom and earthly kingdoms, of which the entire city of DC boasts.  The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, he says, with his index and middle finger extended, a sign of teaching authority.

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