When the fence went up around the U.S. Capitol Building after the insurrection on January 6th I started thinking of how the Capitol, the building itself, exists in the lives of those who live in its shadow. And what the Capitol means as a visual representation for the idea of government.
The Capitol dome is not visible from everywhere in D.C. but its presence is constantly felt. From under the dome comes our laws, our culture clashes, our history, and our future as a nation. As I walk around the streets of D.C. photographing I keep thinking of Hokusai’s, Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji. Hokusai's woodcuts, while very much about the mountain, are also about the lives of the people who live in the surrounding prefectures. Mount Fuji was sacred to Hokusai and plays a central role Japanese Buddhist and Taoist traditions.
The Capitol Building also plays many - often paradoxical - roles in our modern culture. It’s a symbol of freedom that was, to a significant extent, built by slaves. It’s a seat of power in our representative democracy, but those who represent too long are are often seen as corrupt. It’s a hallowed space that’s found on on t-shirts and key-chains.
The U.S. Capitol Building is what it needs to be, for everyone.