Nick Nichol's images of Serengeti Lions are projected on the National Geographic building as part of FotoWeekDC.
Nick Nichol's images of Serengeti Lions are projected on the National Geographic building as part of FotoWeekDC.
Photograph by Becky Hale

Nick Nichols’s Serengeti Lions: Larger Than Life

Commuters in Washington were shaken from their normal routines last night by a rare sight: lions roaming the facade of National Geographic’s 16th Street building in downtown D.C. An accompaniment to photographer Nick Nichols’s August story, “The Short Happy Life of a Serengeti Lion“, the video caught the attention of many people leaving their long days at the office.

As the projection began, I watched people on the street respond. A runner halted mid-stride and yanked out his headphones to watch; another person perched on their bike seat to snap a picture on their phone.

I talked with Kathryn Gerber, a D.C. resident originally from Maine, who was watching the projection. She thinks our city needs more art. “It’s great to end work late and have art still happening in your city and to have people out here watching,” she said.

Another D.C. resident, Beniam Mulata, originally from Ethiopia, thought the lions “look pretty awesome.” When I asked him why, he responded, “I was raised and grew up in Africa so it’s reminding me of my hometown.” His friend Labata agreed. He said he liked watching the lions because they are powerful. “They are the king of animals, I think.”

The projection is just one of the many events centered around FotoWeekDC, for which National Geographic is serving as the central hub. If you work in Washington, check out the lions again tonight from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on your commute home, or again tomorrow night, November 9, from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Details can be found here.

View a National Geographic interactive featuring video and photos of the Serengeti Lions here.

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