LITTLE FALLS, NJ -- Executive Producer Brian Brodeur spoke with independent photojournalist Julian Leshay, live from Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day about his experiences in the nation’s capital as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris became the next president and vice president.
Leshay spoke to Brodeur via Zoom as he photographed images from the historic day at “one of the closest locations that you can get to the Capitol, because everything’s blocked off,” he said. Leshay recently traveled to Washington to capture photos at the January 6 riots at the Capitol. Now, in comparison, “the mood is exciting, people are excited for the new president,” Leshay said.
According to Leshay, the National Guard and police are a bit on edge, due to threats of riots by supporters of former president Trump. Leshay describes the security in downtown Washington, with metal fences surrounding the National Mall. Leshay reported that military personnel are set up at almost every intersection in D.C., and entrances to the Capitol are blocked off and gated. “There’s an incredible presence of military and authorities here, just making sure that anything suspicious, anything that seems a little funny is handled,” he said. “I think they’re making sure that things can go as smooth as possible.”
Leshay was capturing images leading up to Biden’s inauguration, when members of the Secret Service came up to him to talk to him on the street, to verify his credentials. With the high tension, Leshay understood why they talked to him, and after reviewing his press credentials, Leshay was quickly cleared to take photos.
Leshay did not have direct access to areas where the inauguration was taking place. But he was able to capture the preparations, such as members of the Minnesota National Guard doing crowd control exercises. Leshay’s photos taken around Washington throughout inauguration week will be featured on his Instagram page.
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