From the backseat of a stranger’s car I document each journey.
I heard about Therese’s daughter’s wedding, that Nathaniel plays volleyball, how Alexis visits a different country every year, that Monique lost 300 pounds. Stories about ex husbands, ex wives, lost jobs, dogs, and dismissing Christmas.
Some rides are silent. They are all cinematic. Cars, names, ratings, maps, music, opinions, day, night, rain, sun, hello, goodbye, quick & slow, here & there. Each trip, a photographic entry in a diary about the brief episodes shared by a driver, a passenger and a city.
Abera Rides with Jesus
Family on Curb
Lady with Lolli
Highrise @ Night
Tata @ the Wheel
If we allow ourselves an anthem, this would be mine.
"Oh, the passenger
He rides and he rides
He sees things from under glass
He looks through his window's eye
He sees the things he knows are his
He sees the bright and hollow sky
He sees the city asleep at night
He sees the stars are out tonight
And all of it is yours and mine
And all of it is yours and mine
Oh, let's ride and ride and ride and ride"
Oglala Sioux Reservation, Wanblee, South Dakota
Home of Bob Dole, Russell, Kansas
Charenton Cross, Louisiana
Koolwink Motel, Romney, West Virginia
Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama
Washington Street Market, Selma Alabama
Drive-In, Winner, South Dakota
Willow Flats, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
The Badlands, South Dakota
Crazy Horse National Monument, South Dakota
There are more spies in Washington, DC than anywhere in the world. For over 200 years undercover agents have been operating in the nation’s capital collecting and selling secrets. Confidential information has been shared in open, ordinary spaces. Classified documents handed over in bags in plain sight. Street corners and parks used as signal sites and dead drops. The city is a hotbed of espionage activity. Spyland maps the history of some of the most daring spies and their clandestine meeting places.
Lafayette Square Pennsylvania Avenue & H Street
In 1864, two men sat in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, to secretly observe President Lincoln's movements. The plan was to kidnap Lincoln and hold him hostage in Richmond. In charge of this failed venture was Captain Thomas Nelson Conrad, a chaplain in the Confederate calvary and a secret agent.
Oak Hill Office Building 1401 Wilson Boulevard, Rosslyn, Virginia
From 1972-1973, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward met with an anonymous source in this underground garage. Nicknamed “Deep Throat”, the source gave information about President Richard Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal. In 2005, “Deep Throat” was revealed to be former FBI Associate Director, Mark Felt.
Foxstone Park, Creek Crossing Road, Vienna, Virginia
A piece of white tape on this sign signaled that FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen had information for his Soviet contacts. Hanssen, spent twenty two years as a double agent and received an estimated 1.4 million dollars for selling top-secret information. The Department of Justice stated Hanssen’s acts as "possibly the worst intelligence disaster in U.S. history.” When he was arrested near this park he asked the FBI agent “What took you so long?”
SS Smile, 37th Street & T Street NW
A swipe of chalk on a mailbox, codename SS SMILE, signaled that CIA officer Aldrich Ames had information for his Soviet contacts. Originally located on the corner of 37th and S St and only a mile from the Soviet Embassy, this mailbox is now on display at the International Spy Museum. A new mailbox has been placed on the next block.
Cleveland Co-Op, 3909 Macomb Place NW
Ana Montes, a former senior analyst with The Defense Intelligence Agency is serving 25 years for espionage. Montes communicated with the Cuban Intelligence Service using pay phones, shortwave radio and encrypted diskettes. Considered one of the most harmful spies in history, her arrest nine days after 9/11 went virtually unnoticed.
Au Pied du Cochon, 1335 Wisconsin Avenue NW
On November 2, 1985, only ninety days he defected to the US, Vitaly Yurchenko, walked out of this Georgetown restaurant and headed up the street to the Soviet Embassy and re-defected to Moscow. Before leaving the restaurant, Yurchenko, the highest ranking KGB official to ever defect to the US told his CIA guard, "I'm going for a walk. If I don't come back, it's not your fault.”
Chadwick's, 3205 K Street NW
In this Georgetown pub on June 13, 1985, CIA mole Aldrich Ames met with Viktor Cherkashin, the Soviet Chief of Counterintelligence. The lunch became known as “The Big Dump,” as Ames handed over two shopping bags full of classified documents leading to the execution of ten American assets in Moscow. Ames is serving a life sentence.
National Security Agency, 9800 Savage Road, Fort Meade, Maryland
In May 2013 Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the NSA, met with journalists in Hong Kong where he leaked thousands of classified documents revealing US government surveillance programs. The Department of Justice charged Snowden with violating the Espionage Act and theft of property. After his passport was revoked by the State Department Snowden applied for asylum in 21 countries. He has temporary asylum in Russia.
Dumbarton Oaks, 3101 R Street NW
In July of 1984, Jonathan Jay Pollard a civilian Navy Intelligence Analyst met with his Israeli handler, Colonel Aviem Sella, on the grounds of Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. Pollard traded classified national defense documents including a secret satellite photo of an Iraqi nuclear site. Pollard was released from prison on November 20, 2015.
Watergate Complex, 2600 Virginia Avenue NW
On June 17, 1972, five men broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee located on the sixth floor of the Watergate Complex. This act of domestic espionage led to Senate Hearings and ended with the resignation of President Richard M Nixon in 1974.