#PHEdesdemibalcón

Remember when balconies had a moment? Think late March, when Italians started singing together from their balconies, or when New Yorkers stepped out onto their balconies to applaud health care workers. Much like face masks, hand sanitizer, and the Zoom ding, balconies could be considered an emblem of the COVID-19 era. That was the thinking behind PHotoESPAÑA’s 2020 exhibit, #PHEdesdemibalcón, which invited Spaniards to share photos on Instagram that represented life as they saw it from their balcony during the pandemic. Through a collaboration between PHotoESPAÑA and the Spanish embassy, images from the collection are now on view at the corner of 16th and Fuller Streets NW, along the fence outside the Spanish embassy’s cultural center. In one blown-up photo from the exhibit, a man is seen through his balcony trimming the hair of a young boy in the kitchen; in another, a woman has dragged her yoga mat onto her balcony and is mid-squat. There are photos of masked city dwellers walking down empty streets, friends leaning out of their windows to chat with each other, and people applauding toward a nearby hospital through their window. Despite being taken thousands of miles away, the photos are eerily familiar, a reminder of the commonalities of the pandemic. There’s just one obvious giveaway that the exhibit is foreign—we don’t have nearly that many high-up balconies in D.C. The outdoor exhibition is on view until Feb. 15 at the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain, 2801 16th St. NW. Free.