The Nation’s Capital (2012)
In autumn 2012, I spent a couple of weeks in Washington, D.C. This was not my first visit to the U.S. capital but the first time I came to pursue a photographic project. I had the vague idea to explore connections between the construction of place and the construction of identity. Washington, D.C. that was planned on the drawing table as the nation’s capital seemed to me an ideal place for such a project. Stuffed with monuments, memorials and museums, dominated by governmental and administrative buildings, and structured by public parks and places it is a representational space that aims at the formation and communication of national identity. The city is a huge stage.
Yet, when I was out shooting, more often than not, it was the mundane and not the representational places that caught my eye and prompted me to take a picture. Of course, mundane places also play a role in the construction of identities although this might not be an intentional effect and, what is more, these mundane places are often hard to decipher. In any case, looking through my series of photographs I am wondering what they tell about my own identity, i.e. being not American, and about my preconceptions about the U.S.