Through a photographer's lens : A visual essay

By Kent Nishimura May 5, 2021 10 AM PT Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Copy Link URLCopied! Print

In November 2020, people took to the streets to celebrate the calling of the U.S. presidential election for Joseph R. Biden Jr.; after four years of a regime whose policies and politics the revelers did not agree with, change was coming, and for many, joy cometh in the morning.

Originally based in Los Angeles, I was reassigned to The Times’ D.C. bureau to document the nation’s capital and the first 100 days of the incoming Biden-Harris administration.

What I found was the convergence of the different parts of 2020 and 2021: the pandemic, the dawn of a new administration, the insurrection and its aftermath, the shifting of power in Congress and a city and country that were desperately seeking to return to a sense of normalcy.

Donald Trump supporters hold flags and take a selfie with the Washington Monument in the background
Donald Trump supporters gather on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington as Congress was meeting to certify the electoral college vote confirming Joe Biden’s election.

A man is sprayed in the face as protesters clash with police
Law enforcement officers clash with a pro-Trump crowd.

People gesture and wave flags atop scaffolding
Supporters of Donald Trump outside the Capitol on the day it was stormed.

A blurred U.S flag hangs behind a broken window
A broken window in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol, where a joint session of Congress was to verify the electoral college votes.

Service members in uniform sleep in an alcove below a curved stair
National Guard members sleep as the House of Representatives convened to impeach then-President Trump, nearly a week after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

A street is blocked off with barricades
Security measures along Constitution Avenue. After the Capitol breach, the FBI warned of additional threats in the nation’s capital and all 50 states.

The National Mall decorated with U.S. flags
Flags decorate the National Mall a day before the inauguration of Joe Biden.

Vice President Kamala Harris is sworn in
Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president on Jan. 20, 2021.

Joe Biden is sworn in as president
Joe Biden is sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2021.

The dome of the U.S. Capitol Building seen through a skylight
The dome of the Capitol Building is seen as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill on Jan. 28, 2021.

People take part in a snowball fight
People take part in a snowball fight as snow blankets the National Mall on the last day of January.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) walks through the Capitol Building on Feb. 8, 2021, a day before the Senate was scheduled to begin the second impeachment trial of then-President Trump.

Trucks with LED screens displaying anti-Trump messages near the Capitol Building
Trucks with LED screens displaying anti-Trump messages are parked along 7th Street ahead of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.

Snow falls over the U.S. Capitol grounds
Snow falls over the U.S. Capitol grounds on Feb. 10, 2021, the second day of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.

David Schoen, defense attorney for former President Trump, in the Senate Subway at the U.S. Capitol Building.
Journalists photograph David Schoen, defense attorney for Donald Trump, in the Senate Subway at the Capitol on Feb. 11, 2021, the third day of Trump’s impeachment trial.

Rep. Jamie Raskin gestures to National Guard troops as he walks in.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the lead House impeachment manager, gestures to National Guard troops at the Capitol on Day 3 of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.

Members of the 117th Congress hold candles in a moment of silence
Members of the 117th Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) observe a moment of silence Feb. 23, 2021, for the 500,000 American lives lost to COVID-19.

Birds in flight over Constitution Gardens Pond with the Washington Monument in the background.
Birds in flight over Constitution Gardens Pond with the Washington Monument in the background on Feb. 27, 2021.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sprints up the steps
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) sprints up the steps of the east front of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill on March 3, 2021.

Vice President Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris on March 4, 2021.

A congressional staffer adjusts several flags
A congressional staffer adjusts flags before the start of a news conference on immigration on March 18, 2021.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to a small group of people
Vice President Kamala Harris makes a stop at Brown Sugar Bakery on Chicago’s Southside with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton on April 6, 2021.

Vice President Kamala Harris waves from a plane
Vice President Kamala Harris waves at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on April 6, 2021, after a trip to Los Angeles.

Officers salute a procession hearse carrying Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans.
Police officers from Prince George’s County salute a procession with a hearse carrying Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans on April 13, 2021. Evans was killed when a man rammed a car into the north barricade outside the Capitol.

Rep. Andy Kim pets a Saint Bernard
Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) pets Officer Clarence, a Saint Bernard with the Greenfield (Mass.) Police Department in the Capitol Rotunda on April 15, 2021. Officer Clarence, a police comfort dog, started with the Greenfield police in 2013.