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Photo-Op Grave of Matthew Brady.

Photo-Op Grave of Matthew Brady

Field review by the editors.

Washington, DC

Matthew Brady is today revered as "the father of photojournalism," but in 1896 he was bind from his darkroom chemicals and so broke that when he died his tombstone had the wrong death date.

Photography collector Larry West visited Brady's grave in the early 2000s and noticed that there was an open space around it. He learned that those plots had never been sold by the cemetery, so he bought them and decided to used them to create an impressive Brady memorial.

It was unveiled on September 17, 2022. West decided that it had to be photography-centered and interactive. He spared no expense: the monument is designed to be earthquake-proof and is made of materials expected to last for at least 200 years.

The monument features life-size bronze statues of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass -- each holding a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation -- as well as a life-size ceramic photograph -- very expensive -- of Brady next to a bronze replica of his camera. Visitors can pose with Abe and Fred, then pose as if being photographed by Brady.

Next to the statues is a large columbarium wall, topped by a raven sitting on a skull, and decorated with ceramic versions of some of Brady's photographs, including portraits of 19th century celebrities such as Sojourner Truth, Charles Dickens, Walt Whitman, and Tom Thumb.

The open space inside the columbarium wall contains cremation chambers for eight future dead people. West has reserved one for himself, and expects that the others will eventually be occupied by other Brady fans, although probably none as passionate as himself.

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Also see: Congressional Cemetery

Photo-Op Grave of Matthew Brady

Congressional Cemetery

1801 E St. SE, Washington, DC
Walk into the cemetery at the intersection of Potomac Ave. SE and E St. SE. Walk to the first cross path and turn right. Walk about 100 feet and look to the left. You'll see a life-size statue of Abe Lincoln; that's Brady's grave.
Daylight daily; gated after hours. Office M-F 9-5. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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In the region:
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