Washington, DC: City of Interest, City of Change

Washington, DC: City of Interest, City of Change

A Virtual Photographic Exhibition and Lecture Series

Teens' Corner Graphic

The FotoCraft Camera Club and the Exposure Group African American Photographers Association, in collaboration with DC Public Library, have created a virtual exhibition series on the photographic history of the District of Columbia. The exhibition explains why, from an African American perspective, photography is so important in telling our story.

This exhibition was inspired by the Library’s People's Archive acquisition in 2018 of the Edward Fletcher photographic collection.  An estimated 30,000 images were received by the Library depicting the life of African Americans living and working in Washington, D.C. spanning from the late 1930’s to the1980’s.

Mr. Fletcher was a founding member of the Fotocraft Camera Club which began in 1937 and is still an active photo club today. In this exhibition, you also will have the opportunity to view the works of other early photographers such as John Henry Pinkard, Jr., Robert H. McNeill, William H. Underdue III and Bob Fentriss, along with the images of 29 other photographers from FotoCraft and Exposure Group who have contributed.

Washington, DC: City of Interest, City of Change, is a photographic compilation curated from past and present club members and compiled into seven exciting virtual galleries. Take time to explore the virtual galleries below and mark your calendars to join us for one of the upcoming virtual discussions.

Lecture Series

Thursday, March 18 at 7 p.m.
Who Will Preserve and Tell Our Story? How and Why to Start Putting your Photos and Files in Order Now
Join staff from DC Public Library’s People’s Archive and Memory Lab on YouTube Live to learn how to preserve the story behind your images through digital preservation and metadata.

Thursday, April 8 at 7 p.m.
Photography as Art: Images from the Mind's Eye
Join Lisa Fanning, Bruce Fagin, Vernon George, and Sonnie Mason, in a discussion about photography as an art form and what types of images are derived from their creative imaginations and realities.  All of them are accomplished photographers and members of either the FotoCraft Camera Club or Exposure Group African American Photographers Association of DC.

Watch and Listen to Past Events

Notes from the Library: Looking Through the Lens of Photographer Ed Fletcher
In this podcast episode,
Ray Barker and Eric White discuss the Fletcher Photograph Collection from the People's Archive and the Washington, D.C.: City of Interest, City of Change virtual photographic exhibition.

Changing Landscape of Photography from DC Photographers Perspective
Join the Library on YouTube for a discussion with three D.C. photographers who have worked in and around D.C.

A Visual Perspective of DC Through the Lens of Black Women Photographers
Hear their stories and view their works by watching this great discussion on YouTube.


The Edward Fletcher Photo Collection
Edward “Ed” F. Fletcher (1913-1990) was a resident of D.C., father, husband, government worker and professional freelance photographer whose works appeared in periodicals such as the Pittsburgh Courier, Baltimore Afro-American and The Chicago Defender.
Fletcher worked at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory from 1953 to 1971, but continued to shoot independent projects throughout the city. The collection was donated to DC Public Library by his daughter, Pat Fletcher, and consists of an estimated 30,000 negatives and prints documenting African American life in D.C.  This gallery showcases a sampling of his work.

  What makes a city great?  It’s the people who live there. In this gallery you will be able to imagine the vibrant sights and sounds of street life.  Enjoy our rich culture and experience time spent with family and friends. This is what makes the District so unique.  Fifteen photographers have captured leisure activities, parades and everything in between. 
  The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects our freedom of religion, speech, the press and peaceful assembly.  Washington, D.C. has become the epicenter for protests, marches, rallies and other forms of expression. In this gallery, eleven photographers provide a window into major events past and present and the way people express themselves.  There are images of Papal visits, Houses of Worship, Black Lives Matter, D.C. Statehood, and memorials dedicated to victims of COVID-19 and AIDS, just to mention a few. 
  Life in the District of Columbia can be fast-paced and intense. Life in the District can also be fun and engaging, you just have to know when and where to find it. From live jazz to drum circles, rowing on the Potomac and Anacostia rivers to competitive swimming, historical re-enactors to the Space Shuttle, this gallery has something for everyone.  In this gallery, fourteen amazing photographers share their perspectives on music, celebrations, sports and festivals capturing the essence of life in the District.
  For some visitors, the main attractions in Washington, D.C. exist only within the boundaries of the National Mall.  When entering this gallery, you will see the District of Columbia as a place with unique personality, culture and ethnicity.  In this gallery, eleven photographers take you through six decades of landscapes and destinations authentic to the District. 
  Do you remember your favorite places in the District, places that just touched your soul?  From Georgetown to Anacostia, Adams Morgan to Deanwood there are places that leave an indelible mark on your soul.  In this gallery photographers have captured the very essence of what we love about the District of Columbia. Locations such as the Lincoln Theater, Chef's Table, Union Market, Chess House, Bohemian Caverns to mention just a few.  Many of these places, while alive in our memories have vanished.  This gallery pays homage to the past, present and future of the District of Columbia. 
  A March on Washington, riots, National Guard occupation, parades, marching bands, beauty and fashion.  All of these themes could be taken from today’s headlines or be the lead story on the nightly news.  However, this gallery will support the fact that history does repeat itself.  Four photographers, contemporaries of Edward Fletcher are featured in this gallery.  While their subject matter is not new to some of us, the messages are still the same.  We have the same protests, marches, parades today as we did over seventy years ago.  Take a moment to compare today’s themes, technology, style and technique as you look back in time, with the future in mind. 

Special thanks to all of the members of the FotoCraft Camera Club, The Exposure Group African American Photographers Association, Inc. and the DC Public Library who have worked together to make this show possible.