If one is a diligent archeologist, and has the gumption to spelunk in the archives of the Library of Congress, and one has waaay too much time on their hands, one may be rewarded with unearthing the first known photograph of a government building. Entitled United States Capitol, East Front Elevation, the brittle Daguerreotype shows the Capitol with its former copper-sheathed wooden dome, and is the earliest surviving photograph of the building. It was taken in 1846 by John Plumbe, Jr.
Several government buildings were among the first edifices in the nation’s capital to be recorded by the relatively new medium of photography. Plumbe operated a studio in the mid-1840s, and was the first professional photographer in Washington, D.C.
Fast-forward about 175 years. Today, the photography of government buildings spans an incredible array of architectural styles and types, administered by diverse (and sometimes multiple) jurisdictions, with protocols, permissions, and security requirements. Although we’ve not been at it for 175 years, our experience is broad and deep, having worked with our clients on a gamut of project types ranging from municipal and county facilities, to law enforcement and infrastructure, to photographing on a nuclear submarine base.
Due to the nature of some facilities, we are frequently subject to strict security screenings to gain access to photograph. Security restrictions can limit the public distribution of photographs, therefore the portfolio selection above is only a sampling of our depth and breadth of experience on government projects.
Years from now, when some intrepid excavator is mining the wealth of imagery within the Library of Congress, they may come across some of the photos that we’ve crafted for our clients. Perhaps they will pause their search for just a moment to appreciate one or two of our images, recognizing the care and attention that went into crafting each, and utter “nicely done.” John Plumbe would be proud.