If any doubt remained about the enduring influence of The Americans—the celebrated 1958 book of documentary photography by Robert Frank—it can be laid to rest by this exhibit, in which a talented group of photojournalists called Facing Change document one American July 4—the one that happened about three months ago. Looking for the bold, reflective lip of a tuba, like the one in Frank’s book? Carlos Javier Ortiz finds a pair of them in Chicago’s Hyde Park. Craving un-self-conscious but dorky patriotism? Andrew Lichtenstein nails it with a bunch of upper-crusties from Greenwich, Conn. Seeking Americans wearing ridiculous, slightly unnerving outfits? Lucian Perkins offers a riot of frilly, antebellum dresses in Easter pastels. How about a body with an inanimate object for a head? Ortiz captures a bench-sitting figure topped by a trio of red, white, and blue balloons. They’re all first-rate images, but the show’s most notable works break away from the (justly) durable Frank model: Lichtenstein’s photograph of spectators in a public park, lit by the eerie metallic glow of firework blasts, and Alan Chin’s winning image of a young woman firing water from a hose at a boy, both of their faces lit up with sheer delight.
The exhibit is on view 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to Nov. 18 at Carroll Square Gallery, 975 F St. NW. Free. (202) 638-3000.