Bobby Donaldson, B+J BBQ - Ledroit Park Oral History #3, 26 Mar 2011

On Saturday Robert Sullivan and I visited Bobby Donaldson, owner of B+J BBQ on 3rd and RI Ave NW since 1972, and long time resident of Ledroit Park, to conduct our third oral history interview. Mr. Donaldson was humble and welcoming, and part of that might have been him thinking that this could be a good way to drum up some support for his eatery. I personally think it had more to do with his southern roots and a sense that he is proud of the life he was able to build for himself as a chef and business owner. "I knew it was a good corner when I bought the place." he said, telling us that he could have sold many times if money were the only thing he cared about. Mr. Donaldson's memory was a bit faded (or so he told us), and at times Robert was frustrated at not being able to direct the interview, but it seemed to me the photos and how he expressed himself would always tell much more than what he said. My favorites below - More photos here.

For the shoot I started with just available light, but I decided to add a small off camera strobe high and slightly left which I bounced off the ceiling to give a bit of separation between Mr. Donaldson and the background and just a bit more punch overall.


Black and White Street Photography - First Warm DC Days

The weather is changing, and I'm working on getting the camera out and about - taking a walk to pick up the groceries instead of doing errands on my bike.  The bike which is great for getting from point A to B but which is not condusive to street photography.  Here is a selection of photos from the last couple of weeks, all taken with my Nikon F3. I don't think of myself as a street photographer per say, but it's great practice - making something out of nothing, taking the time to notice things, play with the sun and the angles, get out and sit still for a bit on a corner that one not might normally consider. What's the story today? It is a question that is always worth an answer.


Emma and Morgan - Portraits of Neighbors

I've always wanted to photograph my neighbor Emma ever since we moved into our house six years ago.  She's one of the elder Ledroit Park residents and has always been really wonderful to us, collecting packages when we aren't home and watching the street when we are away, and I like to think of photography as a way to say thank you, show respect or just 'hello'.  But, any time I've ever gone to get the camera or had it and pointed it in her direction, she has always dismissed the idea with a chuckle or a smile and then a backwards wave of her hand.  When the weather turned last week she was out on her stoop with her dog Morgan and I saw a chance - knowing that she loves her dog ! and if I told her it was a photo of her with her Morgan she would say 'yes'. And of course the dog didn't always do what she was supposed to be doing, so I was able to make a photo of just Emma too!

I had initially wished that the image was in color ... it's what I had in the camera on that day.  She had lots of colors on, pink sox, yellow shirt, red flowered slippers, but I think there is something a bit more dignified about not reavealing all of that - probably the reason she doesn't like having her photo taken these days.


Hu's Wear / Shoes Print Ad

This is my first print ad (photos not the layout) published in several area publications including the Washingtonian and Capitol File! Pretty excited about it, so keep an eye out!


Rooting DC 2011 - Urban Farming Workshops

On Saturday I volunteered my time photographing Rooting DC 2011 at Calvin Coolidge High School in NW Washington DC.  The day long event was focused on teaching ideas about individual home food production and urban farming and featured workshops on a variety of topics including planning and planting a small urban garden, nutrition, bee keeping, growing your own mushrooms, canning and composting among others.  There were also cooking demonstrations and a seed exchange.  No fees were charged at this well attended event, and all workers and presenters were on a volunteer basis.  When Common Goods City Farm (friends and neighbors of mine here in Ledroit Park) asked me to donate my time, I had no problem doing so.  Not only was it a fun photo opportunity, but I also learned a great deal about urban food production and about some of the amazing work that people in this city are doing!

Joe Bozik of the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild shares bee keeping techniques for beginners.


Juliette Tahar (Healthy Living Inc.) prepares a dish of fresh collard greens and garlic.


Nazirahk Amen (Purple Mountain Organics) demonstrates how holes are drilled in preparation for growing mushrooms.



More Photos here.