Flashback to January 2021 in Washington DC. At the time, I had no idea things would change so much around the city. The new year started off quiet but there was a buzz around the city with the upcoming inauguration. What was it going to be like with COVID? We had already watched the Inauguration flags and setup starting months prior, were people going to be allowed to attend? How would they regulate the crowd?
However, on January 6th protestors stormed the US Capitol in an event as we had never seen before. My eyes were glued to the television screen and my jaw on the floor as to how this could all have happened. It left a feeling of uncertainty, disbelief, and overall tension in the city. I was planning on going downtown later that evening to work on a photo project, but with the storming of the Capitol, that would not have been possible. So I made the plan to head down first thing the next morning. After I was done taking pictures for the project, I could not help but to drive around the US Capitol to see what it looked like.
I’ve spent hundreds of hours at this location photographing the sunrise, sunset, lighting strikes, past inaugurations, attended photo walks, and created some great memories on the grounds. I just could not believe how different it looked after one day. As I was driving around, I remember seeing trucks transporting the fencing to the US Capitol. This was going to be the last time I see the US Capitol so open and without fencing in a long time.
Monday, January 18th I found myself taking a little walk around in the same place. Just two days before the Presidential Inauguration, this was definitely not the US Capitol I was used to. I remember parking my car and sitting there for a while, very hesitant to get out. I was scared to see what it looked like and to feel the energy.
The fencing was up and National Guard was everywhere. It blocked off so many streets that I was looking at maps to see exactly where was I was relative to the Capitol Building. It was the eeriest feeling I’ve ever had taking pictures around Washington DC.
This was one of the last images I captured on my walk. I saw these two bikers ride past me but there was something about them that made me keep my eye on them. Soon after they passed me, they started holding hands while riding their bikes. I thought this was the sweetest moment. One that spreads love.
It’s been more than 2 months and I have not been to the US Capitol since. The feelings there are just too unsettling. The fences have still been up and the National Guard is still on patrol. However, I heard this past weekend the fences are finally starting to come down. I saw images of the barbed wire coming off and I heard some of the roads are being cleared. I could not be any happier.
So I finally made it back to check it out for myself. On March 23rd, I took a sunset around the Capitol grounds.
As the progress of the fencing continues, I’ll try my best to document it. I don’t know if we’ll have access to the US Capitol like we used to, prior to January 6th. For now, I’m just happy to see things get back to normal for a bit.