• Twitter Classic

[Follow me @sapphire_lens] 

Galleries ~ Awards ~ Press

Studio Visit Magazine

Vol. 39 / 40, Jan 2018

Los Angeles ARTCORE Exhibition, Feb 2018

Not Random Art

Pgs. 160-169, Iss 7, May 2017

The Woven Tale Press,

Vol. V #2, March 2017

George Washington University

Gallery 102, March 2017

A Luta Continua

Biggs Museum of American Art

Competitive Juried 2016

3 June to 25 Sept Biggs Shot

American Art Awards 2015 WINNER, Nonmanipulated Photography, also 4th place in manipulated category, 2016 4th place in Human Figure. 6th place 2017. 


Art Tour International's 2015 Top 60 Masters of Contemporary Art


The Phillips Collection: American Moments Competition: Honorable Mention, 2015


Creative Quarterly Journal of Art and Design v. 41 Winter 2015- 2016: NYC: WINNER Professional Photography category


Neutral Density 2015 Awards

Honorable Mention Photojournalism (Special)


International Photographer of the Year, 2015, Honorable Mention, Photojournalism


ArtAscent v. 17 "Portraits" Feb 2016 Distinguished Artist Award


Community Collective Exhibit with Capital Fringe 8 Sep - 2 Oct 2016

Logan Fringe Arts Space


Photographers Without Borders

Finalist, published Nov 2015


National Geographic 2014

Portfolio Review, Sarah Leen, Director of Photography


International Contemporary Masters v. 11 (2016) by World Wide Art Books, accepted.


Dance Art Competition 2014  Focus Point Shape International Online Art Gallery. 2nd Place


Digital Art and Photography



Interview with SNAP Magazine

15 May 2015


Artist Portfolio Magazine, International Art Edition, 2015;

5 Year Anniversary Edition, 2016

Honorable Mention


ARTSPACE Herndon, 2013, 2014 

Fine Art Competition FINALIST


"2014 Spirit of DC" by FOTODC

Judge's Favorite


VIEWBUG FINALIST, 2015 "Wearing Jeans" competition



 July/August 2013 page 31 


 March/April 2014 page 29 


 July/August 2014 page 32


 January/February 2015 page 40



The Torpedo Factory Art League

Patron's Show 2014 and 2015


Rochester Contemporary Art Center 2014 6 X 6 Exhibit, 2014


Ground Floor Gallery, NYC 2015


TouchStone Gallery, DC 2015


Jo Ann Rose Gallery, 2014


Artbot Gallery, 2013


Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, 2013


Freddie Mac Foundation Heart Gallery, 2010


Herndon Municipal Center Lobby


Living Artists of Today: Contemporary Art. vol.2 [book], 2014



Artistically.  Reflecting.  Reality.


Blending elements of lifestyle portraiture and contemporary street photography, I use a camera to engage people and create wonder about who they are.  Inspired by what I don’t fully understand, I believe my work encourages an enhanced awareness and broader sense of human interest about contemporary sociocultural themes exposed in candid portraits of people. My images assume cinematic qualities associated with album cover art, and often reflect a personal impression or powerful combinations of action and emotion.


My work frequently highlights diverse subcultures exhibiting unique characteristics or cultural norms. Sometimes my photos show uncomfortably close portraits of strangers or “social outsiders” revealing their talents and personal triumphs. Universally, these unflinching portraits imply a slightly mysterious narrative of achievement, and provide insight into people who exist both before and after the photograph was made.  For me, the photos are a contextual reminder of what is real now.

My portraits are intentionally shot in public where the environment and subject are both dynamic. Theses blended challenges make open air photography an exciting way to transform everyday people, doing artistic things, into community models.

To create emotionally intimate pictures, I look for situations where people have let their guard down because they are distracted, exposed, or in a state of transition.  The goal is to artistically capture "that honest moment" between the subject and photographer, and illuminate subtle, yet important, relationships between people.  People are art.

My creative philosophy is to limit the use of equipment and technology in the field so that I do not influence the environment.  Using only a simple camera, it’s my job to balance scale, light, and luck. The best photographs creatively compose compelling subjects while demonstrating excellence in trade craft.  I believe that the right photograph can have lifetimes of impact. 


Who is C. Downing?  Charles Downing Fletcher (b. 1968) grew up in a small town in the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia. He went to college at East Carolina University, graduating a Master’s degree in physical sciences.  C. Downing was first exposed to the bohemian arts community while exploring his interests in science as an undergraduate and carried those experiences with him to the University of South Carolina, where he studied doctorate-level digital imaging processing and advanced analytic techniques.  Following the death of his mother in 2000, C. Downing dropped out of the University of South Carolina, to accept a position with the Central Intelligence Agency doing creative analytic imaging work.


C. Downing’s art speaks to his struggle to maintain personal relationships, often becoming his only outlet around complex social insecurities for self-expression.  At times, his public work represents a private exercise in developing empathy and impulse control with anonymous individuals.  Human behavior, including his own, is fundamentally interesting to him as an artist.


C. Downing was largely self-unaware until his second wife, a remarkable black woman,  challenged him to reconsider many assumptions about himself and others.  His personal learning curve about black culture and the global struggle of brown people now guide his artistic direction and message. A near death experience in 2016 galvanized his commitment to focus his life on things that matter and self-actualization.

C. Downing is an accomplished Washington DC photographer living in the metro area with his beautiful family of three children. He also owns Rush Street Gallery, a digital exhibition of contemporary artistic photography.  In addition to his photo work with the Federal Government’s Executive Office, he was published in Art Tour International's 2015 Top 60 Masters of Contemporary Art.  C. Downing also won the 2015 American Art Awards as well the professional category in the NY publication, Creative Quarterly Journal of Art and Design v 41.  In 2016, he had two pieces accepted for exhibition at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover DE.  In addition to publishing in professional and academic art journals, his work has been shown in many east coast galleries. A complete list of honors and examples can be seen on this web site www.beonfilm.com.