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The Stories Behind 5 Striking Images You’ll See at FotoWeek DC

From gritty photojournalism to gorgeous portraits, this growing festival shows off a wide variety of notable camera work. This year’s FotoWeek actually spans nine days, and there are more than 100 events. We asked five Washington photographers to tell us about the pieces they’ll have on display.

Photographer: Sallie Keena.
Where the photo was taken: A Harlem rooftop.
What’s going on: The double exposure captures two subjects at a pair of intriguingly distinct moments.
What she was thinking: “I was feeling inspired and hopeful, yet under pressure because of the fading sunlight. There are things beyond words that only a visual image can express. Each time I create a portrait, I’m reaching for that.”
Why it works: “The photo stirs a bit of instant curiosity—not only because of the composition and saturation of color but because the layering of the two exposures acts as a visual puzzle.”

Photographer: Cheriss May.
Where the photo was taken: Howard University.
What’s going on: A dance squad performs during a football game.
What she was thinking: “The energy gave me goose bumps. I’m a Howard University alumna and adjunct professor, so this holds a special place in my heart.”
Why it works: “I lay on the ground to take it. That perspective brings viewers into the action, like they were there on the sidelines.”

Photographer: Mukul Ranjan.
Where the photo was taken: 14th and K streets, Northwest.
What’s going on: Protesters help a passerby who got sprayed by tear gas during Donald Trump’s inauguration.
What he was thinking: “I was struck by how poignant it was. It was like a baptism.”
Why it works: “The light, the shape and arrangement of the people, the strangeness of what is transpiring.”

Photographer: Kate Warren.
Where the photo was taken: A DC alley at night.
What’s going on: Musician Yasmin Radbod showed up to the shoot sporting a grill, which Warren decided to use in the portrait.
What she was thinking: “Women are told to be soft and quiet. We wanted to do the opposite.”
Why it works: “The images are a study in contrast. A feminine manicure meets a masculine grill for an aggressive composition.”

Photographer: Malek Naz Freidouni.
Where the photo was taken: Kreeger Museum.
What’s going on: Freidouni had a friend walk barefoot through the museum’s courtyard.
What she was thinking: “I was attracted to the striking outdoor space and its elegant lines.”
Why it works: “The simplicity of the location, model’s movement, and symmetry of her clothes and hair mimicking her surroundings.”

FotoWeek DC is at various locations from November 11 through 19. Free to $400.

This article appears in the November 2017 issue of Washingtonian.

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Erika Huber
Editorial Fellow

Erika joined Washingtonian in September 2017. She received an English degree from Towson University and has written for Investment U and Elite Daily. After graduating, she worked in financial publishing as a copy editor. She resides in Maryland.