754 Clementina St. | San Francisco, CA 94103
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Architecture and Urban Landscape
The photographs in this series are part of a larger project to document the architecture, landscape and people of San Francisco during the most pervasive changes the city has seen in decades. They were made with a tripod-mounted bellows camera that uses 8″ x 10″ film, a device that cannot capture motion but renders objects in repose with great clarity.
Though deeply ingrained in the popular imagination, the San Francisco of “Vertigo” and “Bullitt,” The Joy Luck Club and The Maltese Falcon, the Beat Poets and the Summer of Love is rapidly being transformed by boom-and-bust cycles in the tech industry and its close cousin, the real estate market. The famous landmarks mostly remain, though the vistas are gradually shrinking in the face of construction, while the social landscape increasingly resembles that of Manhattan, where an earlier influx of wealth led to the gradual exodus of its middle- and lower-class inhabitants. How far down this path San Francisco will travel, how soon, and with what consequences for its fabled ethnic diversity and the character of its neighborhoods remain open questions.
From late spring through early fall, San Francisco is the site of numerous annual marches, street fairs, parades and non-hosted happenings, many of the participants of which are explicitly engaged in consciousness-raising. Their messages are sometimes expressly political in obvious ways, but in other cases what they advocate for is the freedom to pursue styles of life traditionally rejected, discouraged and even outlawed. Still other participants in these events try to call attention to passions and pursuits far out of the mainstream. My intention with the portraits is to depict how San Franciscans express the freedom and tolerance that, for many, is a large part of what makes them stay.
Those most deeply involved in these events often represent themselves and their interests through dress, adornment, makeup, signage and role-playing to communicate viscerally with an audience that will see and possibly hear them only briefly. Whatever the particular content being communicated, however, a common underlying message is discernible: whether what I am committed to alarms or amuses or unsettles or inspires you, it is — and I am — valuable and thus worthy of respect.
The photographs in this body of work were taken with a tripod-mounted view camera, often immediately before or after an event began. They were made with each subject’s active participation.
Exhibition at the San Francisco International Airport
“San Francisco in Black and White,” One Front Street and 50 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA
“Quiet City,” 475 Sansome Street and 45 Fremont Street, San Francisco, CA
“Quiet City,” 555 California Street, San Francisco, CA
“Spotlight: Photography,” Arc Galleries, San Francisco, CA
“As It Happened,” Gary Francis Fine Art, Alameda, CA
“Urban Grit,” Gary Francis Fine Art, Alameda, CA
“Now that You’re Gone,” San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, CA
“Sky,” Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA
“Someplace in Space,” 5 Claude Lane Gallery, San Francisco, CA
University of California Press, “Boom: a Journal of California,” Summer 2014 issue
Documents of San Francisco, catalog, c. 40 pages, 2013
San Francisco Arts Commission, “Artists (Re)Defining San Francisco Neighborhoods” with Janet Delaney and Lordy Rodriguez, moderated by Pireeni Sundaralingam.