Washington, DC as HOME

Jan Groover (1943-2012)
312., 1976
Chromogenic color print

Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Museum Purchase)

Jan Groover was an American photographer originally from Plainfield, New Jersey. Groover was particularly interested in the relationship between the world as we know it and the world as it was composed through the lens of her camera. She focused on eliminating the presence of the photographer in her images to create a direct line of communication between the viewer and the subject matter. It wasn’t until Groover was asked to participate in the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Bicentennial project The Nation’s Capital in Photographs in 1976 that she began experimenting with altering her position as opposed remaining stationary in order to achieve this effect.

Groover’s images were notably the only works to be displayed in color for the bicentennial show. The images attempt to alter one’s perception of the pre-existing world through the placement of an intrusive object in the foreground and the positioning of the camera. Groover’s composition of quintessential D.C. elements places a magnolia tree in the foreground as the intrusive object with D.C. architecture and a statue in the background. Those who called D.C. home, or who are visiting, are offered a fresh perspective on the environment in which they inhabit.


Joe Cameron (b. 1939)
Untitled, 1976
Gelatin silver print

Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Museum Purchase)

Joe Cameron is a photographer whose work explores the hidden contrasts innate to space and form. Cameron spent 35 years at the Corcoran School of Arts and Design as a Professor of Photography where he honed his creative eye through a practice of street photography. Cameron’s photography is rooted in exploring rudimentary aspects of sight: the contrast of light versus dark and space versus form. He strips his subjects to their barest essentials, exposing a layered contrast innate to the interaction between object and space.

In Untitled, balance is achieved through asymmetrical alignment of space and form. The artist may present a presence that is familiar, but does not reveal what it actually is. Untitled exemplifies Cameron’s rooted practice of contrasting light and space to focus the eye around the true essence of his subject. What is bare and empty seems familiar and warm. The blank facade of a building, usually caught in the periphery of a passerby, is expanded into single focus by architectural form.

Darrow Montgomery (b. 1963)
MARCH 1994, WASHINGTON, D.C., (SIXTEENTH ST. UNDERPASS), March 1994 Gelatin silver print

Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Gift of the artist)

As a resident photographer with the Washington City Paper, Darrow Montgomery has photographed the people and the spirit of the Washington, D.C. area for over 30 years. Specializing in finding snapshot moments that resonate with locals Montgomery consistently captures the hypnotic thrum, vitality, and soul of the District. As a former student of the Corcoran School of Art, it is fitting that his work and his vision of Washington, D.C. return home to the Corcoran as part of this exhibition.

This image highlights one of D.C.’s many historic monuments, an equestrian statue of General Winfield Scott. Facing south towards the White House, this mid-nineteenth century general and accomplished military strategist watches over the bustling energy of the capital city from his perch over the 16th Street underpass. Montgomery captures the energetic vibe of the city through his soft focus and long exposures. Combined, this effect highlights the cars’ headlights, street lamps, and even a lone illuminated office window, emphasizing the endurance of a city that never rests.


HOME: Selections from the Corcoran Study Collection

HOME as Feeling

Corcoran as HOME