Over the last few years, as I’ve been able to get away from work, I explored and photographed in the following Columbia places. Some of these places, with work obligations calling, I could only visit on the fly, just long enough for me to discern whether or not I will return to spend some quality time getting to know the people there and their environment and culture.
One of my favorite things about this journey is that because Columbia was a name given to places while rivers were America’s highways, this project has much to do with our fabled rivers. You’ll find these noted under each place.
- Columbia, Connecticut: spent a day there as the first Columbia place I’d visited.
- Columbia, Pennsylvania: a river town on the Susquehanna. With its riparian setting and 19th century architecture, this town is one of my favorite Columbias. It’s home to Hinkles Pharmacy, a store that’s up-to-date and yet seemingly frozen in amber (maybe it’s the honest-to-goodness Muzak they play there?).
- West Columbia, Texas: it was the first capital of the Republic of Texas. Naming their new capital after America’s poetic name telegraphed the intention of the founding fathers to become part of the United States. The next capital was called, in the same vein, Washington-on-the-Brazos.
- Columbia, Illinois. A small town with farm fields abutting the Mississippi.
- West Columbia, West Virginia: a once thriving mining town on the Ohio River.
- Village of Brooklyn, Columbia Township, Jackson County, Michigan: home of the Michigan International Speedway. Four days of photographing NASCAR and its fans was exhilarating and fun!
- Columbia Station, Ohio: spent a while photographing patrons at the VFW Hall.
- Columbia, North Carolina: a tiny town found on the Inner Banks of North Carolina’s great coastal environment.
- Columbia, South Carolina: the state capital, found on the Congaree River. Barely had time to scratch the surface.
- Columbia, Maryland: a planned community, named Columbia because of the name’s optimism.
- Columbia County, New York: found on the Hudson four counties north of New York City, this place has great socioeconomic diversity and great natural beauty.
- Eastfield Village, Rensselaer County: an exquisite school for architectural restoration, and home of a Columbian press, an American invention that was very successful in Europe.
- Hammonton, New Jersey: at Columbia Blueberries, I spoke with migrant workers and learned about the harvest from the farm owner.
- Columbia, New Jersey: a tiny town at the intersection of I-80 and the Delaware River, and just down river from the Delaware Water Gap.
- Columbia, Alabama: found on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, my tenacity and good fortune had me photographing a party for the seven-year-old L’il Miss Columbia.
- Columbia Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma: I was passing near-bye, and so checked it out.
- Columbia, Tennessee: home of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and so much more. While there, I photographed the aforementioned heritage group, aKiwanis Club meeting, in the county courthouse, and at the Lighthouse Church.
- Columbia County, Pennsylvania: on the Susquehanna River, a place that thrived in the days of coal-mining.
- Columbia Falls, Maine: a true piece of Downeast Maine. I’ve been twice, in winter, and in summer. The latter had me photographing Passamaquoddy Indians on tribal lands harvesting blueberries, and latter spending time in their camp.
- Columbia, New Hampshire: a town just ten miles from the Canadian border, situated beside the very beautiful Connecticut River.
- Columbia, New York: a hamlet consisting mainly of houses at an intersection, found just miles south of the Mohawk River and Erie Canal.
- Columbia University: interviewed their historian for one of the videos about the history of the Columbia name.
District of Columbia
I moved to DC, by the Potomac River, to work on my project. Alas, the process of everyday life and earning a living quickly took over, and I found I took more photos while traveling AWAY from home. So, I’m very much looking forward to being in DC as a visiting photographer. That will mean that when I’m here, all I’m doing is photographing the richness of this burgeoning place. These are among the places and events I captured:
- Capitol Lawn: rally against cuts to Medicaid funding.
- Liberty Plaza: Occupy DC.
- Columbus Circle: ceremony honoring Christopher Columbus, held by the Knights of Columbus and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
- National Mall: Independence Day festivities, etc.
- Arlington, Virginia: was at one time part of the District of Columbia. Photographed a belly dancing performance.
- Arlington, Virginia: photographed enthusiasts at the DC Tattoo Expo.
- United States Treasury Building: photographed the inaugural parade.
- The Tidal Basin: cherry-blossom time!
- Dupont Circle: gay pride parade.
- Verizon Center: as they waited on-line for the venue to open I found Little Monsters dressed to impress Mother Monster (that’s Lady Gaga to you).
Coming next is a list of the places I will explore in 2015 to show you American life today.