When I was asked to participate in Artist-Citizen, Washington, DC, I used the opportunity to retrieve an idea that had been lurking somewhere in my subconscious.
I’ve been in DC for over forty years and maybe because I grew up in small towns in the South, when I came here in 1969 this was a big city to me. Fast forward to 2013 and the remarkable growth and renewed energy of Washington has been spectacular.
For a substantial part of those 40+ years I have been quietly aware that DC was home to myriad people who engage in world-class creative efforts that have their showcase right here at home; people who live, breathe and create in the city making the cultural fabric of the region varied and rich. Poets, actors, curators, critics, architects, dancers, directors and more share their creative efforts unconnected to the federal government and, possibly, better for it.
Illuminaries was born from that observation, a way to celebrate those who help shine a light on art, craft and on others without the requisite trappings of notoriety or the sometimes-shallow world of celebrity. These initial subjects — phase one of Illuminaries — selflessly pursue excellence in their individual realms while hard at work strengthening and bolstering the arts in the ‘other’ Washington.
About Max Hirshfeld
Max Hirshfeld is recognized as a master at spotting decisive moments while revealing the warmth and humanity of his subjects. He has undertaken several focused projects over the past decade. From 2002-2005, in a series titled One Shot, Hirshfeld captured individual pedestrians in a single frame of film amid the chaos and color of urban settings in major cities across the United States. For his 2008 Looking at Looking series, he spent over a year wandering through the National Gallery of Art, documenting the jazz-like dance movements of visitors as they viewed master works in the collection. In the spring of 2013, Hirshfeld commenced his Illuminaries series, which highlights key players in the Washington, DC arts and cultural scene. The project serves as an important record of the extraordinary figures contributing to the advancement of Washington arts.
Hirshfeld was born in North Carolina in 1951 and grew up in Decatur, Alabama. He moved to Washington DC to study photography at George Washington University, graduating in 1973. Hirshfeld’s editorial work has been published in GQ, The New York Times Magazine, People, Time, Vanity Fair, and other national publications. His advertising work has been showcased in campaigns for such companies as Amtrak, Canon, Ford Motor Company, IBM, KPMG, US Airways and the US Mint, among others. [Official Website]