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Inside and Outside the Spectacular U.S. Institute of Peace Building

Photograph spectacular interior and exterior architecture at the U.S. Institute of Peace Building

Quick Details


One of the most interesting new buildings in Washington sits on the edge of the National Mall: The United States Institute of Peace is a national, nonpartisan, independent institute, founded by Congress and dedicated to the proposition that a world without violent conflict is possible, practical, and essential for U.S. and global security. In conflict zones abroad, the Institute works with local partners to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict.

Founded in 1984, USIP’s teams work in many of the world’s most volatile regions. In 2011, USIP moved to its permanent home on the northwest corner of the National Mall, just across the street from the U.S. State Department.

USIP’s 300-plus staff members work abroad or at the Institute’s headquarters in Washington, an iconic building that faces the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and that symbolizes our nation’s commitment to peace.

The institute has been headed since 2014 by Nancy Lindborg, who was formerly the Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.

Washington Photo Safari is pleased to announce that it has been granted exclusive access to conduct an architectural photography workshop in the interior and exterior of the USIP building, whose unique curved roof was designed by Israeli architect Moshe Safdie to resemble the wings of a dove, the bird of peace.

Our workshop begins in the huge atrium that dominates the building’s interior, which we will photograph from different angles from the upper balcony and from the atrium floor, and then move on to photograph some of the interior rooms and the extraordinary views of the National Mall and the adjoining State Department building, best captured with superwide angle lenses. The converging curved lines of the building’s unique architecture make for wonderful photography. We finish the workshop as twilight creates a deep blue sky that serves as a lovely backdrop to the illuminated interior of the building.

Here is a sampling of the images you will capture on this safari

Architectural photographer and Washington Photo Safari director E. David Luria leads this workshop, assisting clients individually with their cameras, working with tripods and cameras on Manual Mode, adjusting white balance and exposure for the most accurate images. Accompanying us on the safari will be the USIP’s own staff photographer, Bill Fitzpatrick, whose beautiful images of USIP historic events adorn the long corridor walls of the Institute. A former White House photographer, “Fitz” captured the moment in 1984 that President Ronald Reagan formally endorsed the establishment of the Institute in his handshake with Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV), as shown in the Flickr slide show.

Any camera is fine for this safari, even late-model smartphones, but for best results we suggest SLR or mirrorless camera bodies with adjustable F stops and shutter speeds, manual modes, and wide angle lenses of at least 10-20 or 11-16 for APS-C sensors and 14-24 for full frame sensors. This is also a great place for fisheye lenses! Tripods are allowed.