Category: Health Magazine, Summer 2024

Title:Alumna uses photography to show overlooked DC

Author: Gabrielle Barone
Date Published: June 14, 2024
Leslie (Fiumara) Landerkin (N’68) achieved recognition for this photo, entitled “A Hard Place to Sleep.” It is part of a series she calls “Unhoused.”
Leslie (Fiumara) Landerkin (N’68) achieved recognition for this photo, entitled “A Hard Place to Sleep.” It is part of a series she calls “Unhoused.”

After retiring from a career in nursing, Leslie (Fiumara) Landerkin (N’68) learned photography through local classes at the Smithsonian and The Art League in Old Town Alexandria. Now she is using her passion for photography to help others see the often overlooked people and elements of the Washington, DC, area as well as the beauty of nature.

Leslie (Fiumara) Landerkin (N’68
Leslie (Fiumara) Landerkin (N’68)

More than 50 years after graduation, Landerkin says she still has many “wonderful friends from Georgetown,” and also especially appreciates that the university prepared them for many varied fields.

She has photographed everywhere from gardens to museums to hot air balloons near Luxor, Egypt. To capture the best moments, Landerkin carries a small stool with her so she can sit a while to get to know a place, seeing things often passed by.

“It’s amazing what you see when you’re not in a hurry,” Landerkin says.

After taking a photo that showed the juxtaposition of an unhoused person sleeping under the U.S. Capitol, she decided to begin the “Unhoused” series, working to respectfully feature people in the DC area who are chronically unhoused.

“The project started as an interest in portrait photography and evolved into so much more,” Landerkin says. Landerkin prefers black and white photography as it allows the viewer to focus on the subjects rather than a bright color. She has also chosen to concentrate on the area where she lives because there isn’t the rush and distraction of trying to quickly capture a new place during a visit.

Her work has caught the eye of local gallery owners. One picture of a protest march through Washington was included in Gallery Underground’s “American Soul” exhibit. Another series documents the now-closed reformatory in Lorton, Virginia. Her work was also featured in a January 2024 special exhibit in the Arts Club of Washington.

Landerkin has published one book of photography and has another self-printed, hand-sewn one in the works.

She also hopes to continue meeting local unhoused community members and telling their stories. “I love photographing people when they’re in the moment,” she adds.

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