Samuel Dixon, a local photographer who captures DC’s neighborhoods and community spaces, recently shared images of his new neighborhood Columbia Heights and its residents. UrbanTurf reached out to Dixon to discuss this project and some of his past photo essays.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
What motivated you to start taking photos of different DC neighborhoods?
It’s mainly a way for me to get to know the place I live a little better. Taking photos slows me down and forces me to pay attention. I’m not just walking through a place I’m observing it closely looking for things that are interesting/beautiful/ugly/humorous etc. It’s nice to get out of the general commuter mode and just appreciate a place for both its beauty and flaws.
What is your focus as you walk around different neighborhoods snapping images?
Generally I’m focused on the people who live in the neighborhood. It’s nice to catch honest moments of people in their own environment. I’m also paying close attention to the light and setting and looking for good compositions.
Were there any photos you took, experiences or people that stood out to you?
The first thing that comes to mind is this series. I was in my basement apartment editing some wedding photos when I heard a brass band start up. The band was from a local church and were there to cheer up a fellow church member who was sick and unable to attend services. It was just an incredibly moving moment and the band was amazing to boot. It’s still the single best thing I’ve experienced in DC this year.
Talk a little about the process and your approach- what equipment do you use? Do you speak with the people in addition to taking the shot or do you just snap it and keep it candid?
There are several cameras I typically use. As far as my approach, I try to be as inconspicuous as possible, which helps capture more honest moments. However when people do notice me taking pictures I always try to say hello or just wave. Being friendly generally puts people at ease in most situations.
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/photos_of_14th_street_showcase_a_community/10265.
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