“D.C.’s got a thriving art scene that would surprise a lot of people,” Washington Post photographer Lucian Perkins told us. “People are really interested in photography.”
“I really like telling stories about people, and try to give the viewer a sense of who these people are and what they’re going through,” Perkins said. “[I want to] somehow capture something about their lives that other people can relate to emotionally, and as a result, connect to those people.”
A sample of photographs from Perkins’ ambitious collection is currently being featured at FotoWeek DC through Nov. 12. You can find them at FotoWeek Central (1800 L St. NW).
While his range of subjects is extremely wide, Perkins tends to focus on issues-based photojournalism. He has photographed war-torn areas such as Kosovo, Chechnya, Iraq and Afghanistan: “I see photography as a way to bridging cultures and identifying with others."
He discussed his shift in topic coverage these days -- he's currently working on the collective project Facing Change: Documenting America. “I’m certainly much more geared towards people who are making a difference; that’s my focus now,” he said.
Facing Change seeks to cover under-reported challenges and stories around the United States, such as AIDS hospices, Sept. 11 memorials, and poverty in Louisiana. “Our role [as photojournalists] is documenting the invisible,” Perkins said.
“The change you hope for never happens to the extent that you wish it would. But you do make a difference. People pay attention to your photographs. I don’t have the illusion anymore that my photographs are going stop war, but they might help somebody better understand what happens in a war.”
Perkins went on to discuss some of the changes in the field, including the prevalence of video media: “A still image hits you more on a gut level. Video can do that as well, but it’s a very different dynamic.”
“There’s so much junk out there that it’s hard to filter through to find the great work,” Perkins said.