Recent Galleries

Personal

“I was there”

January 29, 2009

Please join Laura Stone and I through our photographs on our journey to the Inauguration and home again. The adventure began this past November at Manuel’s Tavern on election night when a jubilant Ms. Stone excitedly said “We should go to the Inauguration!”  The seed was easily planted and our plans to get to Washington […]

Please join Laura Stone and I through our photographs on our journey to the Inauguration and home again. The adventure began this past November at Manuel’s Tavern on election night when a jubilant Ms. Stone excitedly said “We should go to the Inauguration!”  The seed was easily planted and our plans to get to Washington D.C. were quickly underway. The long drive, the threat of cold and crowds, and no official inaugural ticket didn’t hinder our spirit, we just wanted to be there. 

 

The following is an account of our trip eloquently written by Laura.

 

“I was there” is now the proud mantra of the 1.5 million plus people present for the Inauguration of President Barack Obama last week. These simple words and the memories of that day that will long outlast the plethora of newspapers and memorabilia, though these, too will no doubt be cherished.

 

Renee and I began our adventure as so many great adventures begin, setting out onto a long stretch of American highway. Being the dallying sort of women we are, we turned a 11 hour drive to Baltimore into about 14 hours each way, with stops for hand-warmers, iPod accessories, and of course, hash browns. 

 

Our plan was to commute from Baltimore on Monday and Tues to the north end of the DC metro line. We were a bit shocked on Monday afternoon to enter the station and discover throngs of people already in line trying to determine which passes they needed. This was our first taste of what it was like to share a transportation goal with countless other people…  

 

We did successfully arrive in DC at the National Gallery that afternoon to take in an inspiring display of work by photographer Robert Frank. What else, it was his body of images entitled “The Americans”, a series of piercingly truthful images from all across the country in the mid-1950’s. 

 

After taking in Frank’s images, Renee and I perused the streets with our cameras, observing the Americans moving before us- young and old, all converging energetically and optimistically on our nation’s Capital to participate in THE day. 

 

Of all the photos I have ever been privileged to take, these are certainly among the most important to me. The trip itself was a spark of youthful determination- two idealists on the road recording pictures, staying in the nearest city and arriving at the train station at 2 am to guarantee a spot on the first train and claim another spot to wait for many hours in the cold. But the oath, the peaceful transfer of power to a man who united more people than ever before on the National Mall, outshines every obstacle and discomfort we faced. It was a surreal moment of peace, jubilation, and hope founded on possibility.

 

On the drive home, I read the special edition of the Washington Post aloud and hoped my sore, hoarse throat would disguise the crack of my voice as I quoted a man who made the pilgrimage to stand in the pre-dawn darkness with his family on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. “Thank God this day has come,” he said, “Thank God this day has come.” 

 

At every street corner in D.C. and even at out train station in Maryland Obama everything was for sale. It was like the commercialism at a major sporting event.

 

 

 

 

We arrive in D.C.

 

 

The Robert Frank exhibit at the National Gallery was the highlight of our Monday and the perfect inspiration.

 

 

There was a vibrant electricity in the air Monday as the city prepared for the following day. Vendors sold their Obama gear and thousands walked the streets proudly wearing the hope of a new day. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We arrived at a Maryland train station at 2am waiting for the train that would take us into the city at 4am.

 

 

I love this image. A Naval Academy student has a “yes we can” sticker tucked into the inside of his hat.

 

 

4:30 am and a dark D.C. found it’s streets crowded with cold and excited Americans waiting to find their spot in the mall and their view of history.

 

 

Dawn broke over the capitol as we along with thousands poured into the mall. 

 

 

 

Cold but hopeful we waited for the moment our country would swear in it’s first African American president. 

 

 

A woman holds her son, Trent, warmly against her while he sleeps. We stood near them the entire day. The mixed race family came all the way from California to bring their son. 

 

 

Trent, now awake, warms his hands while his eyes tear at the cold air.

 

 

 

Nose cold and red, I’m apart of the huddled (did I mention cold) masses.

 

 

Flags wave up and down the dusty mall as Obama is announced. 

 

 

Millions react to the swearing in of our nations 44th president. Many scream with joy and wave flags while others stand in teary joyful solitude or raise their heads to the heavens in thanks.

 

 

 

Trent’s father raises him in his arms and looks into his eyes thankful and excited about his future and then looks heavenward.

 

 

 

Heads are bowed during Rev. Joseph Lowery’s prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the inauguration thousands of tattered bits of newspaper sailed around the dusty mall. I love this image. On the left an image of Obama and on the right an image of the Lincoln Memorial. 

 

 

 

Laura and I stand reflected in a window of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, our only outlet from the mall.

 

 

This final image, a man standing quietly at the New Carrolton train station as we exit, sums up many feelings of the day. We stand tired and hopefull holding the flag of our nation.

 

 

Please click on the underlined text below to open a slideshow of the above images and more.

 

“I was there” slideshow

 

up up
Jan  /  Feb  /  Mar  /  Apr  /  May  /  Jun  /  Jul  /  Aug  /  Sep  /  Oct  /  Nov  /  Dec
Jan  /  Feb  /  Mar  /  Apr  /  May  /  Jun  /  Jul  /  Aug  /  Sep  /  Oct  /  Nov  /  Dec
Jan  /  Feb  /  Mar  /  Apr  /  May  /  Jun  /  Jul  /  Aug  /  Sep  /  Oct  /  Nov  /  Dec
Jan  /  Feb  /  Mar  /  Apr  /  May  /  Jun  /  Jul  /  Aug  /  Sep  /  Oct  /  Nov  /  Dec
Jan  /  Feb  /  Mar  /  Apr  /  May  /  Jun  /  Jul  /  Aug  /  Sep  /  Oct  /  Nov  /  Dec
Jan  /  Feb  /  Mar  /  Apr  /  May  /  Jun  /  Jul  /  Aug  /  Sep  /  Oct  /  Nov  /  Dec
Jan  /  Feb  /  Mar  /  Apr  /  May  /  Jun  /  Jul  /  Aug  /  Sep  /  Oct  /  Nov  /  Dec
Jan  /  Feb  /  Mar  /  Apr  /  May  /  Jun  /  Jul  /  Aug  /  Sep  /  Oct  /  Nov  /  Dec
Jan  /  Feb  /  Mar  /  Apr  /  May  /  Jun  /  Jul  /  Aug  /  Sep  /  Oct  /  Nov  /  Dec