Meet the Dream Team behind Free Hugs Dc, Joe Shymanski and Alton Mcdougle

Joe Shymanski and Alton Mcdougle started their partnership in 2001. Joe, an established professional photographer and teacher met Alton when he was just 12 years old while working at a local school in Washington, DC. Joe recognized his interest in photography and began mentoring Alton teaching him about photography. 

Their friendship then grew into a long standing partnership. The LEGO photography collections that are well known across the Washington, DC metro area started as a friendly competition to see who could capture the best image. Joe and Alton have been long standing vendors at Eastern Market, a Washington, DC landmark and popular market.

Joe Shymanski unfortunately passed away in September 2023 but the dream team lives on. In addition to continuing to capture and provide fun art the Joe Shymanski foundation has been created to mentor and pour back into the youth within Washington, DC.