Robb Hill

Photographer
   
Views of the Capitol
Location: Washington DC
Nationality: American
Biography:     When I was 11 years old I won a red ribbon at the Indiana State Fair in photography. It was for a series of photos I took of our cats. My family went to Michigan that summer for vacation, I didn’t find out about the prize... MORE
Public Story
Views of the Capitol
Copyright Robb Hill 2022
Updated Jan 2022
Location Washington D.C.
Topics Documentary, Editorial, Fine Art, Landscape, Photography, Photojournalism
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 of government.

The Capitol building 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 Katsushika Hokusai’s, Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji. Hokusai's paintings, while very much about the mountain, are deeply about the lives of the people who live in the surrounding prefectures in view of the mountain. In the Shinto religion trees, lakes, rocks, and mountains are the dwelling places of spirits called Kami, which hold influence over human affairs. How much Mount Fuji influences the lives of the people in Hokusai’s paintings is open for debate, or is it?

The U.S. Capital is the seat of power but the Capital Building is not Washington D.C. The legislation and mores created in its marbled halls effect the daily lives of Americans in direct and indirect ways. Same as the Kami influence Shinto believers.
The Capitol Building plays other - often paradoxical - roles in American culture. It’s a symbol of freedom that was, to a large extent, built by slaves. It’s a hallowed space that’s found on on t-shirts and key-chains in every tchotchke shop in the District.

The U.S. Capitol Building is what it needs to be, for everyone.


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