Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - May 18, 2009
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Making the Photo Archive More of an Archive
May 18, 2009 4:55 PM
When I first started taking photos of Near Southeast more than six years ago, I had no grand plan. Every few months, I went out and snapped a few shots here or there, rarely ever even getting out of the car. As time went on and development projects got underway, I found a methodology that worked for me--stand on each corner of an intersection and in the crosswalks, and take the same angles. This allowed me to build the automated displays of before-and-afters, where I'd pick the best of the "before" angles of a certain location (even if that photo wasn't necessarily the oldest one in my collection showing that angle) and then focus on replicating that angle as construction progressed.
This was all well and good to watch buildings go up, but it hasn't really done the job of being a full archive of all of the photographs I have of the 150-plus buildings that have been demolished since 2003. So, this weekend, I did a lot of work (a *lot* of work) to redesign my online photo archive to make room for close to 700 additional old photos from all parts of the neighborhood, allowing them to now be displayed without messing up the official "paired" before-and-afters that you see on the home page and throughout the site.
Many of these images aren't prize-winners--a lot were shot haphazardly, often through a dirty windshield or into bad light, with an old-model point-and-shoot digital camera (since I didn't take the plunge and get a digital SLR until early 2006). But, with more people arriving in the "new" Near Southeast who may not really know what it looked like only a few years ago, I felt it was important to make as many of these old shots available as I could.
A large number of these newly added images were taken "mid-block", showing angles and buildings that have not been well represented up to now. And I think some of these photos will be of interest the people moving into Capitol Quarter, giving them a better chance at seeing what their lot looked like when the Capper/Carrollsburg buildings were still standing. The images of many of the old nightclubs and hangouts may also be of interest to old-timers. (And Nats fans might get a kick out of the additional photos of the area just north of the main entrance to the stadium.)
To make the archive easier to use, I've redesigned its main browsing interface, giving a couple different methods of entry to the additional photos. You can click on the map as before, which will take you right to the "paired" before and afters for all angles of an intersection; using the See All Photos of This Angle icon will then reveal the complete set of photos for a particular angle, including images taken further along "inside" a block. But you can now also search by year or month or date, or by a combination of dates and locations, to better hone in on what you're trying to find. So, if you want to see all photos I've posted from May 2003, it's now much easier to do. (Though, if you're looking for mid-block images, you may need to "approach" your location of interest from the intersections on both sides to be sure you're seeing all the available photos. Knowing your geography and having a good sense of direction will be a big help!)
There's probably still a bit of tweaking (I see a few of the official paired before-and-afters have gotten broken and need some back-end tweaking, and I still need to plow through 2006 and into 2007 to add more photos of the buildings that were demolished more recently), but hopefully having these photos included will be a welcome addition, if not now then as the years pass and the old Near Southeast fades from many peoples' memories.
So, spend some time wandering through it all, and see what captures your eye.



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