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How a DC Photographer’s Portrait of RBG Became a Postage Stamp

December 9, 2022


For stamp collectors, seeing their artwork turned into postage would be a little like a Swiftie having a breakup featured in a Taylor tune: a VERY BIG DEAL.

That’s certainly how Philip Bermingham feels. The local photographer, whose portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the basis for an eagerly awaited stamp that comes out in 2023, started collecting when he was five years old, and he’s grown into an avid philatelist. “It’s such a powerful photograph,” he says. “The fact that now it’s a stamp, it’s wonderful.”

The path to stampdom began at the Watergate, where Ginsburg lived until her death in 2020. Bermingham himself lives there, and he would run into Ginsburg and her husband around the building and at the Kennedy Center nearby. Ginsburg, an opera fanatic, often praised the portraits Bermingham took of the Washington National Opera’s principal singers. So the photographer decided it couldn’t hurt to ask his neighbor if he could take her portrait, too. She agreed, and in 2017, Ginsburg invited Bermingham to bring his equipment to her office at the Supreme Court.

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