Picture Perfect Burleith

Burleithians were joined by other DC residents on the Saturday, October 15 tour. Photo by Linda Brooks.

Burleithians were joined by other DC residents on the Saturday, October 15 tour. Photo by Linda Brooks.

By Dwane Starlin, licensed tour guide and Burleith resident, dwanestarlin@aol.com

On a beautiful autumn morning last month, I led eight shutterbugs through our neighborhood for the Burleith installment of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.'s Street Photography Series. These guided photo walks cover all eight of the city’s wards and are designed to encourage active documentation of contemporary DC with a historical context. The guided photo walks allow for participants to document—through photography and painting—a neighborhood in each of the city’s eight wards while learning about its history and development.

Representing the Historical Society was its public programs and outreach coordinator, Izetta Autumn Mobley. Izetta, a fifth-generation Washingtonian, was thrilled that the tour began at Hardy Middle School, where her mother had attended school when it was called Gordon Junior High.

Because the emphasis was on Burleith’s current appearance, I pointed out the recently restored fire call boxes and the neighborhood’s four education buildings (including the current renovation and construction at Duke Ellington School of the Arts). I was fortunate to have along as my neighborhood expert Ross Schipper, who shared a diagram of the Burleith street grid that listed the various early home builders. (Ross and I are co-authors of the upcoming Images of America, Burleith, scheduled for publication in 2017.)

I am looking forward to seeing the results of this walk as well as those in the other wards when the project is completed in 2017. The program culminates in For the Record, an annual juried contest and exhibition of art and photography that capture Washington’s changing urban landscape. More information is available on the Historical Society’s website and in an earlier Burleith website post.