Credit: Steve Kiviat

Floating World

It’s fitting that Lost Origins Gallery is displaying photographer Christopher Chen’s exhibition Floating World outside on a Mount Pleasant alley wall. D.C. streetscapes are the main subject in Chen’s photos, and the introductory caption for the show explains that the title is a reference to the Japanese term used “to describe the fleeting pleasures of urban life.” Chen’s photos do that. Some, like the photo of go-go godfather Chuck Brown hanging out at Solly’s U Street Tavern and the picture of R&B singer Sharon Jones onstage at the 9:30 Club, are of people who are now gone. Others are of places, bands, and moments that are gone. Chen’s black-and-white pictures, like the shot of a moped and random people near Giovani Hair Design and of jazz musicians at the defunct Café Toulouse, both in Adams Morgan, convey a noir-ish feel. Chen also has shots with bright colors, including the now-gone Tropicana Eatery on Florida Avenue NW and the similarly closed H Street NW Chinese restaurant Tai Shan. He’s become known to some photography fans for the images, mainly captured with non-digital cameras, that he posts under the name @furcafe on Flickr and Instagram. Floating World features 13 photos that were shot between 2005 and 2012, with QR codes placed under the photos so viewers can access more information. Chen says he thinks of himself as a “documentarian” first and as an “artist” second. He says he’s become more of an artist over the years now that his “eye/brain is better trained,” and he has “a better idea of what will work as a photograph and how to make that shot work.” Weather permitting, viewers can catch Chen’s artist talk Friday, May 28 at 7 p.m. in the alley. The exhibition is available to May 31 on the alley wall next to Ellē, 3221 Mount Pleasant St. NW. Free.