Picture Sequence Captures the First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Washington


On January twentieth, 2021, I stood on the press risers on the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC, photographing Joe Biden taking the oath of office. It had already been a busy and chaotic month. Two weeks prior, I’d stood on these identical press risers making photographs as tear fuel clouded the air and violent insurrectionists broke by means of overwhelmed police strains to achieve entrance to the Capitol. The dissonance between these two occasions was head-spinning.

When Senator Joe Biden received the election, I proposed a photograph essay to Politico to doc the first 100 days of the brand new administration and its impact on town. I had beforehand carried out an identical story for them 4 years earlier that had run over 22 pages in Politico Journal and on-line. They accepted the proposal and shortly had put collectively a tremendous workforce of designers, coders, and producers who would construct the location for this story, integrating the photographs, movies and audio I might seize over the following three-plus months.

Day 1: President Joseph R. Biden speaks on the 59th presidential inauguration in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 after being sworn in as President.

The construction of this mission meant that every day was a brand new alternative, a requirement actually, to make a photograph. I stored a working concepts doc that I used to be always modifying with the assistance of my picture editor at Politico. I carefully watched a Twitter record I’d put collectively to find out about spontaneous protests, gatherings, and different alternatives. Each ten days, I’d put collectively an edit of what I’d photographed to date and ship it over to my editor. This allowed us to work collectively to establish gaps within the story and be extra intentional about telling a variety of tales.

Day 2: A girl navigates the fencing setup for the Presidential Inauguration in components of downtown Washington, DC, on the day after the Inauguration, on January 21, 2021.

Day 6: Home managers stroll the article of impeachment in opposition to President Donald Trump by means of Statuary Corridor to the Senate Chamber in Washington, DC, January 25, 2021.

On day seven, I walked across the Capitol advanced, which was utterly fenced off from the general public. A storm had are available in in a single day, masking the grass in moist, bone-chilling snow. The Nationwide Guard stationed across the Capitol labored twelve-hour shifts, standing guard by means of lengthy, chilly nights. They’d been swiftly known as up, forsaking faculty, jobs, and households, with little indication as to how lengthy they’d be there for.

Day 7: Nationwide Guardsmen stationed across the US Capitol grounds in Washington, DC, January 26, 2021. Immediately, it was introduced that the Nationwide Guard would stay in Washington, DC in sizable numbers till at the least March, 2021.

On day 12, following a tip, I photographed an underground parking storage at a outstanding non-public faculty within the metropolis that had been transformed into a big, out of doors classroom. By that point, my very own children had been attending faculty just about for almost a yr and it was placing to see how non-public faculties had managed to renew in-person, which was nonetheless months away from occurring for public faculties.

Day 12: An out of doors studying house arrange in a parking storage at Georgetown Day College, a non-public faculty in Washington, DC, January 31, 2021. Public faculties within the metropolis have largely been closed or solely accepting a fraction of their typical in-person college students. DC public faculties are scheduled to reopen on a restricted foundation on Thursday whereas the remainder of the scholar inhabitants will proceed to study just about.

Day 18 was a month to the day after the revolt. Unseasonably heat climate introduced throngs of individuals to the Nationwide Mall. Youngsters performed on picnic blankets, simply ft away from the looming steel and concrete obstacles that protected the Capitol. Individuals stopped to take selfies by the fence, framing the photographs to get the armed Nationwide Guardsmen over their shoulder within the pictures, standing in silence.

Day 18: One month in the past, insurrectionists stormed the US Capitol resulting in the demise of a Capitol Police officer. Immediately, a household picnics on the Nationwide Mall close to a fence with Nationwide Guardsmen on the opposite facet, in Washington, DC on February 6, 2021.
Day 27: A foggy, wet night time on the Washington Monument in Washington, DC on February 15, 2021.
Day 30: Nationwide Guardsmen shelter below an overhang on the Russell Senate Workplace Constructing throughout a snowstorm in Washington, DC on February 18, 2021.

I bear in mind day 31 feeling like one of many coldest days of the winter. President Biden had made his first official Presidential journey to a Pfizer plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan and I needed to {photograph} him returning to the White Home. I used to be aware of the standard path that Marine One took and positioned myself on the Nationwide Mall, close to the Washington Monument. The winter mild was fading shortly as I stand in moist grass, ready. Finally, I heard a distance thump-thump of the helicopters, then watched Marine One fly previous the Washington Monument to land on the south garden of the White Home.

Day 31: Marine One flies again to the White Home after President Joe Biden’s journey to Kalamazoo, Michigan to go to a Pfizer COVID-19 manufacturing facility, in Washington, DC, on February 19, 2021. The journey to Kalamazoo was one of many President’s first official journeys of his presidency.
Day 34: Onlookers pay attention because the bells on the Nationwide Cathedral in Washington, DC, are rung 500 instances to memorialize the greater than 500,000 individuals who have died from the coronavirus in the USA.
Day 36: Individuals dine open air at Le Diplomate, a restaurant within the Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC, on February 24, 2021. As of December, eating places within the metropolis had been restricted to indoor eating at 25% of their capability.
Day 39: Professional-democracy protesters march to the Chinese language embassy in Washington, DC, on February 27, 2021, in help of ousted Myanmar chief Aung San Suu Kyi. The State councilor was arrested by the navy throughout a Coup d’état. Protesters blamed the Chinese language authorities for its help of the Burmese navy.
Day 41: Staff take away the concertina razor wire from the tops of the fences surrounding the US Capitol advanced in Washington, DC, on March 1, 2021. Regardless of monumental pushback, the fencing is slated to get replaced and the razor wire reinstalled.
Day 46: A girl poses for photographs close to the Reflecting Pool at sundown in Washington, DC, on March 6, 2021. Immediately, the US Senate handed the $1.9 trillion greenback American Rescue Plan on get together strains.
Day 53: Mother and father and college students of DC public faculties collect at Freedom Plaza to induce Mayor Muriel Bowser to reopen faculties, on Could 13, 2021. Whereas some DC faculties have reopened, they’ve solely accepted restricted numbers of scholars on account of an settlement made with the Washington Lecturers Union.
Day 57: Activists take part in a vigil in response to the Atlanta shootings that seem to have focused Asian Individuals. Activists gathered close to the Friendship Archway within the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, DC, on March 17, 2021.
Day 57: Activists take part in a vigil in response to the Atlanta shootings that seem to have focused Asian Individuals. Activists gathered close to the Friendship Archway within the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, DC, on March 17, 2021.
Day 58: This previous yr has been extremely arduous on companies within the metropolis. Otello Osteria within the Dupont Circle neighborhood closed this previous September after thirty-five years of enterprise.
Day 62: DC Statehood activists stage a protest within the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, DC, on March 22, 2021. Later within the day, Mayor Muriel Bowser will testify in help of HR 51 which might make DC a state. The invoice handed the Home in 2009 and appears unlikely to be voted on within the Senate.
Day 64: A knit mural of Vice President Kamala Harris is displayed close to The Wharf. Artist London Kaye labored with 150 individuals throughout the nation to crochet squares for the mural which had been then mixed.
Day 67: Statues are adorned with facemarks on the Nationwide Cathedral in Washington, DC.

Late March introduced the arrival of the cherry blossoms, all the time a ravishing and picturesque time to be within the metropolis. The normalcy of watching individuals stroll below the pinkish-white cover of flowers as the times grew longer had me hopeful that we’d seen the worst of the pandemic already move.

Day 68: Guests take shelter from an approaching storm alongside the Tidal Basin with the cherry blossoms bushes approaching full bloom. NPS warned about the potential of closing down the world if individuals weren’t sustaining social distance however as of in the present day, haven’t but taken motion.

For a short apart on gear — halfway by means of the mission (day 64 to be actual) I switched to Sony gear from Nikon. I’d been utilizing Nikon DSLRs for years, taking pictures journal covers, the BLM protests final summer time, and many, many portraits.

I’ve been carefully watching the progress of mirrorless cameras for years, noticing as increasingly more of my colleagues in DC make the change. A couple of years again, I started utilizing a Leica Q, an absolute gem of a digicam that occurred to be mirrorless. The expertise taught me that my considerations about EVFs feeling laggy or not high-resolution sufficient had been overstated and that it was time to embrace our pixel-ly viewfinder future. In January 2021, I took supply of a few Nikon Z7 IIs. The cameras went into common rotation.

My preliminary impressions of the Nikons had been fairly blended. It was a digicam that felt gradual total — gradual turning on, gradual focusing in low mild, and gradual switching from LCD to EVF.

I discovered myself casting about a bit of, not sure if I had made a good selection. When the Sony Alpha 1 was introduced, it piqued my curiosity and I instantly pre-ordered one, receiving the first physique in mid-March. The Sony Alpha 1 is the all the things digicam, a photographic instrument with specs that appear tuned to overcome its opponents in a side-by-side comparability. The in-house CMOS chip manufacturing and an aggressive lens roadmap additionally drew me in.

For just a few weeks, I shot the 2 cameras facet by facet, 1000’s of frames on every, and developed some sturdy emotions about how they had been laid out. Usually talking, I dislike the outstanding positioning of the customized buttons on the Sony and like the way in which Nikon made extra definitive selections about the place vital buttons ought to go (specifically the Playback and ISO buttons) which appear extra logically positioned. That mentioned, the responsiveness of the Alpha 1 makes me by no means really feel like I’m ready on the digicam to do one thing like I did with the Nikons. As a facet notice, I’m positive that the Nikon Z9 coming down the pipe will clear up plenty of these points however will even presumably weigh extra which is a downside for me.

The remainder of the mission was photographed with the Sony Alpha 1 and three lenses — the Sony 35mm/1.4 GM, Sony 55mm/1.8 Sonnar, and Sony 70-200mm f/4.

Because the climate warmed, I used to be in a position to {photograph} opening day on the Nationals stadium. Strict limits on press protection meant I wasn’t in a position to get inside, however I discovered a close-by parking storage that gave me a very good view of the field and almost empty stands.

On April 2nd, day 73 of the mission, tragedy as soon as once more struck the Capitol as a police officer was killed when a automotive crashed right into a barricade. I felt super empathy for the Capitol Police officers who had been known as to defend the Capitol, figuring out that they had as soon as once more misplaced one in every of their very own.

Day 73: A US Capitol Police officer motions for the media to remain again as a gaggle of Nationwide Guardsmen holding shields stroll previous him, throughout a lockdown after a automotive crashed into one of many everlasting barricades surrounding the advanced. Capitol Police officer William Evans was killed within the assault and one other officer was injured. The assailant, Noah R. Inexperienced, was shot and killed by officers after rising from the automotive holding a knife and threatening the officers.
Day 75: An Easter Sunday service is held at St. Ann Roman Catholic Church, in Washington, DC. The church had beforehand applied a reservation system for parishioners to attend companies, however on this present day, allowed anybody to come back, however utilizing an overflow room to assist with social distancing.
Day 77: The Washington Nationals play the Atlanta Braves on opening day of their season. The beginning of the Nationals season was delayed after some gamers examined optimistic for the coronavirus. 5,000 followers had been allowed to attend the sport.
The Nationals received the sport in opposition to the Atlanta Braves within the backside of the ninth as Juan Soto drove within the profitable run to place the workforce forward 6-5.
Day 77: Followers stroll to Nationals Park to observe the Nationals on opening day of their season. The beginning of the Nationals season was delayed after some gamers examined optimistic for the coronavirus.
The Nationals received the sport in opposition to the Atlanta Braves within the backside of the ninth as Juan Soto drove within the profitable run to place the workforce forward 6-5.

On day 83, I noticed a submit on Fb that led me to a yard live performance for an viewers of nobody. These musician neighbors had gotten collectively each on occasion all through the pandemic to play music collectively. It was joyful to {photograph} them very competently play some basic rock requirements.

Day 83: Karen Harris (heart), her husband Doug (proper) play music of their yard with their neighbors. The group of musicians within the AU Park neighborhood has gathered sometimes in the course of the pandemic to play music exterior.
Day 86: Congressman Invoice Foster walks by means of the Gun Violence Memorial on the Nationwide Mall. 40,000 flowers had been positioned on Mall to memorialize the victims of gun violence within the nation every year. The memorial was implement by Giffords, a gaggle led by Gabby Giffords, the previous Arizona consultant who was shot within the head at an occasion in her house state in 2011.
Day 87: Part 60 of Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia the place a lot of these killed within the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are buried. President Joe Biden introduced it was “time to finish” the struggle in Afghanistan, planning to completely withdraw troops by September 11, 2021.
Day 90: A closed Lord & Taylor clothes retailer within the Friendship Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC. The division retailer introduced it was closing all of its shops in August of 2020 after declaring chapter.
Day 92: A person holds an indication in Black Lives Matter Plaza following the announcement {that a} jury convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd.
Day 92: Cheria Askew celebrates at Black Lives Matter Plaza after a jury convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd.
Day 93: A nighttime publicity of a cherry blossom tree on the Tidal Basin on Earth Day. This space of the Tidal Basin repeatedly floods on account of a mixture of rising waters from local weather change and the land slowly sinking into the water. Many cherry bushes have died after publicity to the brackish water. Immediately, President Biden pledged to chop US greenhouse fuel air pollution by 50% by the yr 2030.
Day 94: One of many lion statues exterior of the Nationwide Zoo has a facemask. Immediately, the Smithsonian Establishment introduced that they’d start opening their museums, beginning with the Udvar-Hazy Middle opening on early Could.

For weeks, I’d been serious about what day 100 ought to seem like. It needed to be one thing with a close to 100% probability of success — I wouldn’t get one other crack at it. I used to be in search of a photograph that may each summarize and be worthy of my final day on this mission. I made a decision as a substitute of 1 picture, I might take (checks notes) 1,230.

Similar to on day one, I obtained up properly earlier than daybreak and loaded up a phalanx of drugs. I drove all the way down to a spot I had beforehand scouted just a few days earlier than, a statue in a traffic circle on sixteenth avenue that gave me an elevated straight-on view of the White Home. I might {photograph} two timelapses (one serving as a backup) because the solar rose. At 4:45 AM, the cameras took the first photographs.

4 hours later, the daylight hit the White Home’s iconic white columns and I used to be carried out. I rushed house to course of the photographs and edit the timelapse. I despatched the final video to the wonderful workforce at Politico that had been constructing out the location over the previous few months. A couple of hours later, the location went stay.

Day 94: One of many lion statues exterior of the Nationwide Zoo has a facemask. Immediately, the Smithsonian Establishment introduced that they’d start opening their museums, beginning with the Udvar-Hazy Middle opening on early Could.
Day 95: Ashley Ramirez, 14, of Culpeper, Virginia takes images for her quinceañera as her mom seems to be on on the District of Columbia World Struggle I memorial.
Day 95: The band Sligo Waterdogs performs on the first annual Petworth Porchfest. The music competition showcased native musicians enjoying on porches across the Petworth neighborhood.

Wanting again, the most effective a part of this mission was the routine I’d developed of photographing day after day. Whereas I received’t miss being glued to my Twitter feed, I did love the problem of constructing an fascinating picture on days when there wasn’t an apparent information occasion to cowl. I hung out in each ward within the metropolis and had lengthy conversations with individuals who (like myself) appeared keen to connect with one other particular person after the isolation of the final yr. I noticed the financial devastation suffered by native companies but additionally the inventiveness of those that had been in a position to adapt, like a hairstylist who now made home calls after his salon closed. The work of images typically appears like a present, a chance to be curious and look deeper and to do the work, day in and day trip.

Day 97: Brood X cicadas emerge from the bottom in Washington, DC after seventeen years underground.
Day 99: Senator Joe Manchin leaves the Capitol grounds as President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress.
Day 99: Individuals cheer whereas watching as President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, from the Union Pub close to the US Capitol.

Header picture: Day 1 — President-elect Joseph R. Biden takes the oath of workplace as First Woman-elect Jill Biden seems to be on in the course of the 59th presidential inauguration in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

Concerning the writer: Stephen Voss is a photographer based mostly in Washington, DC. He grew up in New Jersey and lives together with his household in DC the place he covers these in energy and people looking for to be so. His shoppers embody TIME, Politico, AARP, Salesforce, and Audi. His work is within the everlasting assortment of the Library of Congress. He has an abiding love of bonsai bushes, gardening, and going for nighttime runs.

His work will be discovered on his web site. He writes about images on Gentle Readings, and will be discovered on Instagram and Twitter.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here