There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Beginning in the 1960s, D.C. resident Chris Earnshaw took many Polaroid and Instamatic photos: of his town, of buildings facing wrecking balls and people on the streets, of blue collar workers, and of an Andy Warhol book signing. More recently, Joe Mills, staff photographer at Georgetown’s Dumbarton Oaks Museum, was wowed by the handfuls of rubber-band-bound old photos Earnshaw brought him. Mills has now digitized, enlarged, and framed 59 of these images; they are on display at the Carnegie Library along with some original Polaroids, bricks from demolished buildings, and newspaper clippings, all collected by Earnshaw. Coverage of Earnshaw, who calls himself the Cowboy Poet, has focused on his struggle with bipolar disorder, troubled childhood, financial problems, and experience being homeless. None of that should distract from his photos. While most of them may not rival the street shots of his photographic idols like Walker Evans, New Orleans’ Clarence Laughlin, and Frenchman Eugène Atget, photos like “House of Prayer,” featuring a woman waiting for a bus in front of a gospel show poster on a deteriorating wall, demonstrate a clever eye. Chris Earnshaw speaks at noon at the Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square, 801 K St. NW. Free; registration requested. (202) 249-3955. dchistory.org.