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Photos and Words By Andy DelGiudice

People often ask why I constantly carry a camera around with me in our modern time of cell phones, and on the surface, it’s a pretty reasonable question. Cameras have never been so ubiquitous and more images are taken within the span of each new year than all of the combined total of all images taken in all years previous. It’s safe to say that convenient picture taking apparatuses exist and are being utilized by large swarths of the global population, so why inconvenience myself with constantly dragging along an actual camera? A camera that can’t instantly project my image to the universe or even send a text message?

The process of documenting the world around me is a bit more engaging when using a real camera and as an added bonus, the image quality is better, too. With a camera at the ready, one is able to quickly snap away at the odd moments of life and may be more attentive to the finer details of their physical surroundings. For instance, the murals that pepper all corners in their urban landscape.

A bit of vibrancy in a sea of brick and concrete, murals can add a bit of identity, character & personality to a block or neighborhood. I started to make it a habit of grabbing a photo of each new mural I stumbled upon throughout my pedestrian travels for no reason other than to do it. Murals represent a reference point or bookmark for a general point in time. Murals appear, get modified, painted over or knocked down. The cycle never ends and it’s interesting to see how each mural first appeared and the life it takes on after it’s “completed.”

DGDC Murals-1

This is a small section of a psychedelic take on the Wizard of Oz, found in Stead Park near 17th and P Street, NW. This was taken in a series of photos from my first photowalk with a film camera so I was on the lookout for bright, saturated colors to test what film could produce. Needless to say, I haven’t really put down a film camera ever since I got this first roll back from the development lab. (Note: all but one of the photos I included in this series was taken with film. Buy film. Shoot it and enjoy it.)

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These two photos are from an original series created by Shepard Fairey of Obama Hope fame. Fairey attended the Rhode Island School of Design located in my home state of Rhode Island, so I grew up finding remnants of his early work throughout the state. I was blown away to stumble upon a large original piece of his work (part of his E Pluribus Venom project) in D.C. and returned to the site a number of times to photograph various sections of the piece and the work around it. That is until a few cheap taggers covered the wall in penises and cuss words. I’m all about the visual conversation that happens within street art, but to ruin this piece without much thought is a real bummer.
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I really dig stencil work and found this piece located off of Adams Mill Road to be strikingly vicious. The ambivalence of the dog walker to the aggression of his pets really jump out at me and I like that the thought bubbles were painted over and left blank. It leaves much to the imagination of his theoretical conversation as well as what’s raising the ire of his dogs.
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This vibrant, multi-cultural mural celebrating the supposed diversity of D.C. is tucked away in an alleyway alongside the Safeway on Columbia Road NW, near the top of Adams Morgan. I find it so strange that these magnificent murals are silently commissioned in minimally trafficked areas throughout the District. I think they should be set in more prominent areas and I think the arts commission is doing a good job of doing so these days, and I guess it is an added benefit of wandering aimlessly through random alleyways all the time; you never know what you will stumble upon.
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Penguins are my favorite animal for a variety of seemingly impractical reasons. They can’t fly and they just kind of waddle around, I think they are hilarious. I have also been told that they smell bad, can get pretty mean and if you want one as a pet you need to accommodate an entire flock (or herd?), as they are pack animals and cannot be isolated. Someday I will set up a private aquarium in my future back yard and chill with my flock of penguins.

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Elizabeth Taylor looks as gorgeous in a 50ft mural as she did in photographs. Yet another photo taken on one of my random walkabouts, I stumbled upon this mural that is a fixture of the Dacha Beer Garden. The light was absolutely perfect that afternoon so I kept walking and passed up on a beer.
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Black Broadway on the south side of the 1300 Block of U Street, NW. This piece was completed by the crew of Art Under Pressure on the day of the first ever U Street Funk Parade. AUP has been a big supporter of the areas resurgent skateboarding and street art scenes, and they decided upon a Black Broadway billboard in an effort to honor the storied past of the U Street Corridor as a focal point of black arts and culture.
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This piece is a collaborative effort located in the north side alleyway of the 1300 block of U Street NW. A number of artists worked together on various aspects of the piece and each built upon the work of the others in order to construct a creative, multi-aspect tribute to its subject.

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Artists work on new pieces under the iconic gaze of the Adams Morgan cowboy during the Adams Morgan Day 2013. I actually almost moved into this apartment two years later until my girlfriend (intelligently, as always) pulled the plug on such plans for a much more logical apartment down the street. I still dream of hanging out of the cowboy hat while yelling at belligerent AdMo revelers and reciting famous speeches of the 20th century.

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Another Adams Morgan piece of commentary that has recently been replaced with something with a bit more color and vibrant. I like to think of the original as a subtle jab to the out-of-towners that pass through the neighborhood on weekends to drink off whatever frustrations they accumulated during their work week, while not-so-subtly highlighting the irony of living in the Nation’s Capitol without the ability to participate in it’s national democratic system.
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