The museums of Washington, DC were my stomping grounds as a child and so on the rare occasion I have time to visit any one of them I feel a sense of home and nostalgia. A few months ago I was given the opportunity to photograph one of the more important and historically significant museums in our Nation’s Capital, the National Gallery of Art. I had no particular goal in mind except to try to capture the beauty of the building.
The original building, the West Wing, was designed by American architect John Russell Pope. Between the classical architecture and the infusion of lush tropical plants and gardens inside, it’s a feast for the eyes and the soul. The East Wing of the museum was the design genius of famed architect, I. M. Pei. It is thoroughly modern yet doesn’t clash with the West Wing. The two somehow manage to work seamlessly together. It’s a building which is instantly recognizable with I.M. Pei’s iconic glass pyramid skylights rising above ground (they also serve as sculptures complementing the exterior of the museum). Below those fabulous skylights you can dine in what has to be one of the best museum cafes in the city.
As a child wondering through the museum, I was always fascinated with its immensity. I had no understanding of the artwork at the time, but it didn’t matter. This place was special. It was part of the art. So, it was with much excitement that I embarked on photographing a small portion of both wings. My time was limited that day, but I made it worthwhile. For me, it was important to show the interaction between the museum and its visitors, the symbiotic relationship, if you will. I didn’t want to do just another typical interior architectural photo. Overall, I was pleased with my results.