Darrow Montgomery’s photo subjects—and their loved ones—often make the comment that he’s seen through to their souls. That’s true this year, as it is every year. Linger for a few minutes on the boxer fighting for a comeback, and the man who’s just gotten his citizenship. Spend time with the runners keeping pace, and the man standing in his driveway with his dog and his car, at home in the city he loves.
On another level, Montgomery is seeing through to the soul of a city. His biggest photo project this year was Florida Avenue Market, “an island of old D.C. in the ever-encroaching new.” The photos are scattered throughout this collection: The pallets on the sidewalks, the sign painted over in red, and the mannequins chained up are a few of the scenes from a once-bustling wholesale market where you could get deals on meat, produce, flip-flops, and sundries of all kinds. You still can, but the shops have gradually closed and only a few remain. And now they’re surrounded by shiny new buildings.
Montgomery’s main observation about his collection is that the color red comes through in so many of the photos. It’s the color of the World Series-winning Nats, the paint on the back of a pile of wooden crosses meant to honor each of D.C.’s homicide victims, an old lost glove, and berries.
Maybe you’ll see something entirely different in Montgomery’s D.C. of 2019. —Alexa Mills