News & Politics

Unseen Photos of ’70s DC Capture a Different City

A local photographer found them during the pandemic.

Unseen Photos of ’70s DC Capture a Different City
Fun in the SunKids at play in ’70s DC, as captured by photographer Max Hirshfeld.
The Peoples Drug chain was an area fixture for decades. This one, at Tenth and F streets, Northwest, was a regular haunt for these Washingtonians. “The three men knew each other,” Hirshfeld recalls. “This was their routine.”
This photo, taken in downtown DC, captures a brief but powerfully intimate moment that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. “It’s all about the love of mother and daughter,” he says, “and the great sense of security you get when you’re with someone you know who will protect you.”
“There’s not a single person talking to anyone else,” says Hirshfeld of this view of Connecticut and K. “There is a sense of isolation. Part of the beauty of any city is the ability to get lost in the crowd.”
What was going through that man’s mind as he glanced at the guy on the trashcan? “Maybe he’s thinking the same way I was at the time,” says Hirshfeld: “Who sits on a garbage can like that in a nice set of clothes? It doesn’t look like he’s got a care in the world.”
Hirshfeld isn’t sure what was going on with this man, whom he captured near the Washington Navy Yard. “That could be different Bibles in his hands,” he speculates. “He seemed to have some sort of spiritual, divine guidance he was tapping into.”