Confessions for a Son | McNair Evans


Exhibit Dates:  November 20, 2013 - January 10, 2014
Opening Reception:  November 20, 6-8pm

"McNair's pictures resonate with a heavy and genuine emotion whose closest comparison would be to music; to songs that change your mood and your day."  -Jason Fulford

McNair dedicated 2010 to photograph the lasting psychological landscape surrounding his father’s death ten years prior. A series of devastating fires, bad crops, perpetual over-extension, and high interest loans fractured the familial and financial stability of his childhood. In a search to better understand these experiences and the events that lead to insolvency, McNair retraced his father’s life. He photographed the farms where they hunted, college dorm rooms, and family members as well as his father’s oldest friends and their vacant businesses. While researching his father’s character and actions, McNair’s emotional states became subject and the photographs narrate his journey between isolation and acceptance. Combining his response with the artifacts of his father’s life, each photograph speaks simultaneously of past and present experiences. These pictures culminate in A Journal of Southern History, a national, award-winning body of work.

Confessions for a Son juxtaposes these photographs with those taken by his father roughly forty years ago. Exploring narrative and medium, photographs from family archives as well as experimental practices unite to reconstruct an emotionally complex family heritage. This inquisitive show transports us through love and loss, anger and tenderness, to a fresh appreciation of honesty, humility, and integrity.

My Days of Losing Words | Rachael Jablo

Exhibit Dates:  November 20, 2013 - January 10, 2014
Opening Reception & Book Signing:  November 20, 6-8pm

»I never stop shooting. I carry a list of words that I’ve lost over time, and when I see something that jogs my memory of a word, I shoot it and cross the word off. I was stuck between my house and medical spaces for months on end, so I started shooting words there.« Rachael Jablo

American photographer Rachael Jablo suffers from chronic migraine. Without medication, the pain makes her lose the ability to speak; with medication, she suffers from side effects that cause her to forget words. In My Days of Losing Words, Jablo creates color photographs that act as synthetic memories of the lost words.The oneword titles refer back to words that got lost in the netherworld between pain and sanity. The self-portraits remain (inarticulately) untitled.

Rachael Jablo (b. 1975) was a landscape and urban landscape photographer until illness derailed her life, when she began photographing still lifes, interiors and self-portraits. Jablo has been exhibited across the US, including the George Lawson Gallery and Joyce Gordon Gallery, San Francisco; the Wall Space Gallery in Seattle, and the Brandeis University. She lives in San Francisco. Robert Wuilfe is an independent curator in the San Francisco Bay area. Dawn C. Buse is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology of Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, New York.

Authors: Dawn C. Buse, Rachael Jablo, Robert Wullfe
Artists: Rachael Jablo
Designed by Kehrer Design
Hardcover, 24 x 22 cm, 96 pages, 42 color ills. 

Homeplace | Sarah Christianson

Exhibitions Dates: October 17th - November 17th, 2013
Opening Reception & Book Signing:  October 17th, 6-8pm

 Wheat Harvest

Wheat Harvest

This exhibition celebrates the release of Homeplace (Daylight Books, Fall 2013)by RayKo's very own Sarah Christianson.  

  Homeplace , Daylight Books 2013

Homeplace, Daylight Books 2013

"The search for home place is the mythical search for the axis mundi, for something to hang on to," wrote Lucy Lippard in The Lure of the Local.  For Sarah, home is a 1200-acre farm in the Red River Valley of North Dakota, where her great-great-grandfather, Hans Olai Cornelius Christianson, immigrated to from Norway in 1869. Her parents are the fourth, and last, consecutive generation to work this land, as Sarah, and her siblings, chose to move away to pursue other careers. Sarah's realization that she was part of a larger rural exodus provided her with the impetus to document their farm at this critical juncture. No longer the steady and constant place of her childhood, she wished to "reconcile its history with its uncertain future, and explore my relationship to this place."  

The book interweaves Sarah's photographs of the Christianson farm and the farms of her Norwegian ancestors with old snapshots and historical documents culled from the family archive.  Homeplace is a rich, multi-layered narrative about family tradition, agriculture, emigration, and the passage of time. The result is a document that not only tells of hard toil and the declining role of the family farm in our economy, but that celebrates a resilient and fiercely independent tradition.

Click here to listen to a radio interview she did with North Dakota Public Radio/Prairie Public Broadcasting's program Main Street (interview starts at the 11:49 mark)

Nancy Newberry

Exhibitions Dates: October 17th - November 17th, 2013
Opening Reception & Book Signing:  October 17th, 6-8pm

Fine Art and Editorial photographer Nancy Newberry is interested in the strange rituals of everyday life.  Known for her photographs of people, her work often explores the interplay between individuality and social affiliation. Her most well-known series, MUM is a tableau centered around a unique custom virtually unknown outside of her home state of Texas. 

She has received many honors and awards for her work from both publications and institutions.  Most recently, she was awarded the Descubrimientos PhotoEspaña 2013 Prize in Madrid, the FotoFest Discoveries of the Meeting Place in Houston and The Taylor Wessing Portrait Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London.  

Ms. Newberry's photographs can regularly seen in the pages of magazines and are in the permanent collection of The Museum of Fine Art, Houston. Her work has been exhibited in the US, UK, Germany, Portugal and China.  Alongside a constant pursuit of new work, she may often be found chasing tumbleweeds between Dallas and Marfa, Texas.

Early Works

Exhibitions Dates: October 17th - November 17th, 2013
Opening Reception & Book Signing:  October 17th, 6-8pm


 Michael Jang

Michael Jang

Artists:  Corey Arnold, Roger Ballen, Doug Beasley, Steven Beckly, Sheri Lynn Behr, Lori Bell, Jesse Burke, Richard S Chow, Joseph Deiss, Maureen Drennan, Deena Feinberg, Gloria Baker Feinstein, Rich Frishman, Michael Jang, Zoltan Jokay, Ann Kendellen, Lewis Koch, Hannah Kozak, Varese Layzer, Phoebe Lickwar, Jim Lommasson, Anne Massoni, David Pace, Stephen Perloff, Jaime Permuth, Alexis Pike, Jordan Reznick, Trix Rosen, Traer Scott, Jack Semura, Frederick Sharpe, Marsha Stewart, Stephanie Williamson, and Charlyn Zlotnik

The idea for Early Works  came from a conversation in which we exchanged stories about discovering photography at an early age. What was it about the medium that kindled our imaginations when we were young?

We wanted to revisit the moment when other contemporary photographers first connected with the medium. We were curious about what childhood images might show us about the nascent stages of creative vision. For many of us, an early fascination with photography led to a life-long passion. How do photographers keep their relationship to the medium alive over the years, and ultimately choose to make it their professional voice?

Many childhood experiences live in our subconscious and are often difficult to navigate, even as adults. Memories of historic moments, of families unraveling, of play, discovery, and struggles with identity are a part of our collective history. This project is about imagery, but equally about personal narrative. A photograph can serve as a strong visual cue that can spark a rich story in a second.

Laura Moya & Laura Valenti Jelen, Curators

Me, Myself, and I: Juried by David Hilliard

Main Gallery
Exhibition Dates:  September 12 - October 13, 2013
Opening Reception:  Thursday, September 12, 6-8pm

Stephanie Brunia

This exhibition pictures the individual, through self-portraiture, images of self-discovery and identity, pictures of friends, family, and place.  All proceeds from this juried show will go to support PhotoAlliance. PhotoAlliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the understanding, appreciation and creation of contemporary photography.

David Lykes Keenan

Elisabeth Ajtay, Stephanie Brunia, Brittney Cathey-Adams, Marna Clarke, Bryon Darby, Ryan Darley, Michael Darough, Susan DeLeo, Marcus DeSieno, Nicholas Eyes, Emily Fava, David Gardner, Jennifer Georgescu, Shawna Gibbs, James Gilmore, Steffanie Halley, Susan Hyde Greene, Rachael Jablo, Carter Johnston, John  Kobeck, Claire Laude, Lucille Lawrence, David Lykes Keenan, Tommy Matthews, Roberta Neidigh, Mimi Plumb, Michelle Rogers Pritzl, Liz Steketee, Zachariah Szabo, and Dana West

About the juror: 
David Hilliard creates large-scale multi-paneled color photographs, often based on his life or the lives of people around him.  His panoramas direct the viewer’s gaze across the image surface allowing narrative, time and space to unfold.  David received his BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and MFA from the Yale University School of Art.  He worked for many years as an assistant professor at Yale University where he also directed the undergraduate photo department.  He has taught at Harvard and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and as an artist in residence at Dartmouth College. He currently teaches in Boston at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design.

David Hilliard exhibits his photographs both nationally and internationally. His photographs can be found in many important collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He has been a recipient of numerous awards including distinguished fellowships from the Fulbright and Guggenheim foundations. His work is represented by the Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York, Carroll and Sons Gallery in Boston, Jackson Fine Art in Atlanta, The Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown, MA and in Paris at La Galerie Particuliere. A collection of his photographs was published by Aperture Press in 2005 and he is currently working with a publisher on a new, soon to be released monograph.

Dana West

Zacariah Szabo

I Feel Lucky | Frank Yamrus

Front Wall
Exhibition Dates:  September 12 - October 13, 2013
Opening Reception & Book Signing:  Thursday, September 12, 6-8pm

Originally inspired by the onset of his self-described mid-life crisis, Frank Yamrus’ collection of self-portraits I Feel Lucky  documents the examination of his life’s decisions.  They retrace his path to turning 50 and look beyond.  After a short respite from taking pictures, Yamrus returned to his camera in 2007 as a way to process his upcoming 50th birthday. His work always had an autobiographical persuasion but in this series he places himself in the crosshairs of his own camera. Created over six years between his 47th and 53rd birthdays, Yamrus uses life’s “big” moments— marriage, fatherhood and the loss of loved ones— as cornerstones of understanding but relies on the smaller moments— working in the yard or enjoying cotton candy— to help present a more congruous life. He explores his relationships with family, friends, and lovers and uses the backdrop of his own photographic history to further enhance his understanding of self. Identity is dynamic and as Yamrus allows us to glimpse into his private life the evolution of his identity is revealed. Bill Hunt writes about these images, "[t]he six years it took Yamrus to make ‘I Feel Lucky’ don't chronicle a highly defined sequence, nor could they be expected to. That said, the series is of a piece.  What is ambiguous yet telling is the ongoing and unpredictable nature of the investigation and the imagination, the conceptualizing and the actual making of images… . [This work] is disarming and savory. Yamrus’ senses are in high gear.  He sees, he feels, and in this life’s work, his photographs behave as a caesura does in music: like the swelling note in the middle of the musical phrase, ‘I Feel Lucky’ is a suspended moment that prepares us for more wonders to come.”

The Easiest Season

Side Gallery
Exhibition Dates:  September 12 - October 13, 2013
Opening Reception:  Thursday, September 12, 6-8pm

An APA SF (American Photographic Artists San Francisco) Curator's Voice Exhibition, juried by Ann Jastrab

With images by:  Christine Collins, Sean Dana, Susanna Frohman, David Gardner, Noelle Swan Gilbert, Jesse Hitchens, Colleen Mullins, Jackson Patterson, Clinton Perry, Dane Pollok, Nicolo Sertorio, Zachary Siddle-Manas, Judy Walgren, and Riley Zaronsinski

Christine Collins


Images by Alexandra Bellissimo, Christopher Colville, Klea McKenna, Laura Parker, Diane Pierce, Meghann Riepenhoff, Saul Robbins, Ian Van Coller, and Mimi Youn

Opening Reception: Thursday, July 11th, 6-8pm
Exhibition dates: July 11th - September 1st, 2013

Alexandra Bellissimo

Christopher Colville

Klea McKenna

RayKo’s summer show highlights photographers who are making one-of-a-kind prints. Everything from photograms to collage to cliché verre prints to manipulated Polaroids. While some of these processes harken back to the first days of photography, these aren’t like anything you’ve seen before.

Alexandra Bellissimo’s “Simulations” is a collection of photo collages that depict psychological imagery by merging the human figure with various forms of nature. With meticulous attention to detail, she executes her visual intentions by physically piecing prints together to create textures and depth within the images. Forget PhotoShop: here’s a woman with an extremely sharp blade…

Christopher Colville’s “Works of Fire” were born out of a fascination with the dual nature of creation and destruction.  The images in this series were made by igniting a small portion of gunpowder on the surface of silver gelatin paper. In the resulting explosion, light and energy abrade and burn the surface while simultaneously exposing the light-sensitive silver emulsion. These fire prints visually reference celestial events, the residue of both creation and obliteration, generated from a single spark.  Who needs an enlarger when you have a match? 

Klea McKenna wants to make an imprint of a place – both visual and emotional – rather than a picture of it. With this in mind, she rarely “takes” photographs. Instead, she devises ways that light sensitive materials, analog photographic paper and film, can interact directly with the landscape to reveal something unexpected; something that decodes the way we experience place. She uses a variety of crude strategies: hand-made cameras, outdoor photograms, and methods of folding film and paper to create sculptural photographs. This experimental approach transforms the familiar, yielding unlikely images that refer to location and subject only through light and form. The flawed material of the film or paper often becomes as visible as the image it has captured. McKenna will be showing images from “Grassland Photograms” and “Rain Studies.” Who knew you could capture storms as photograms on gelatin silver paper?

Diane Pierce

Meghann Riepenhoff

Laura Parker

Saul Robbins

Ian Van Coller

Mimi Youn

Laura Parker’s discovery that exposed and developed sheets of color photography paper could be used to translate a series of physical marks led to her series of “Photo Rubbings.” Suddenly a piece of chromogenic paper, when pressure is applied, could become a labyrinth, a leaded window, a double-headed axe. Shapes and occasional colors advance and recede, sometimes just a hint of the object under the paper, sometimes the object multiplies into complex patterns.  An old printmaking process adapted to modern times.

Diane Pierce’s Polaroids from her series “The Accidental Photograph” are manipulated over time with a variety of casually collected materials. A flightless bird hanging from a yellow thread that is adhered to the surface of the print with the muted tones of the instant film igniting with thick bright paint in specific spots…The techniques and substances of collage become the associated possibilities for what is seen in the still photograph. The images ask to be deciphered by one’s own internal logic and are not suggestive of any one particular notion.  A series of little mysteries.

Meghann Riepenhoff will be exhibiting unique works from three series, “Instar*,” “Eluvium,” and “Relics”. “Relics” is a series of unique 2-d and 3-d chromogenic photograms made with discarded objects from the Film and Photography departments at the San Francisco Art Institute. The artists who have taught and studied at SFAI are credited with initiating paramount movements in image-based media, particularly with experimental and conceptual work. The school is both Riepenhoff’s alma mater and her employer, and her time spent there has revealed the institution as an archive of photographers’ tools, a collection now subject to technological developments.  As the school purged itself of film processing equipment, reels, safelights, and enlargers, Riepenhoff collected remnants of processes past and used them in photograms, a nod to early photographic practices.  The series considers transformation and materiality, light and its imprint.

Saul Robbins’ ongoing project, “Where’s My Happy Ending?” is his attempt to step back and make sense of the struggles he and his wife have been engaged in to start a family. After too many tests and procedures and more emotional ups and downs than they care to recount, this collection of photographs, drawings, video, and ephemera, is the closest he has come, so far, to making sense and taking control of this extremely challenging and personal struggle. Daily, he and his wife remain united, actively engaged in, and focused on their desired outcome: a healthy happy family of their own genetic makeup. What began as a few simple snapshots and drawings has become a uniquely meaningful project, as the intentions that infuse Robbins’ creative process remain a constant meditation on the outcome they so desire. Each image is a unique c-print, carved with different tools,  different patterns and marks scratched into the surfaces of the papers, leaving the viewer too with the sense of the artist’s emotionally trying journey.

Ian Van Coller came of age in apartheid era South Africa and is now raising his children in a small college town in Montana. As a parent, he answers their questions with as much probity and truthfulness as possible, wondering about the repercussions of this decision. As the nature of the world we exist in continues to evolve, each generation must come of age to face the essential challenges of their time.  When and how we each become aware of injustice, inequality, corruption and violence -- and how we make sense and meaning of these discoveries -- shapes our humanity.   In Van Coller’s series, “Coming of Age,” he photographs his children with an 8x10” view camera and then prints on Japanese paper. He thinks about the uncertain future and the things that scare him about that future for his children. The photographs are painstakingly hand cut and hand embroidered, with each piece taking several months to complete. As Van Coller works, the designs mutate from found patterns into his own imaginations (taking on contemporary political themes). As an artist, the contemplative process of patterning and mark-making act in counterpoint to the often difficult themes depicted.

And last but not least, Korean artist Mimi Youn’s artistic practice began with photographs. She was fascinated with the power of photographs, but felt there were limitations to expressing her thoughts, emotions and ideas. So she transitioned to a Polaroid camera. After she takes a picture, she cuts text into the surface of the Polaroid, sometimes in English, sometimes in Korean. Most of the pictures Youn takes look ambiguous and vague because of intentional overexposure; however, marks cut from the photographs look paradoxically strong and painful. Also before fixing the image on the surface of Polaroid, during the developing process, she usually alters the surface: bending, shaking or scratching a knife against the surface, so the emulsion under the surface spreads. These tiny, poignant SX-70 prints are jarring in their intimacy and what they reveal about the artist and life itself.

* The series title Instar is derived from the following Rebecca Solnit quote. Instar is a biological term used to describe the successive stages between molting in an insect. ”The strange resonant word instar…implies something both celestial and ingrown, something heavenly and disastrous, and perhaps change is commonly like that, a buried star, oscillating between near and far."

4th Biennial Pinhole Show

 Exhibition Dates:  04/28/13 - 05/25/13
Opening Reception:  04/28/13, 3-5pm

RayKo’s 4th Biennial Juried Pinhole Show
plus the invented cameras of Jo Babcock

In honor of Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (WPPD) on Sunday, April 28, 2013, RayKo Photo Center hosted an exhibition of pinhole photography in the main gallery.  This was our 4th biennial juried show of photographic work taken with pinhole cameras. On display were giant chromogenic prints of upside down negative cities in glowing red, tiny blurred seascapes printed in blue, and distorted figures sprawled across an orb-like foreign landscape. Also, featured pinhole artist, Jo Babcock exhibited both his pinhole images and a selection of his invented cameras (everything from suitcases to Shinola tins to coffee pots to bowling ball cases and refrigerator boxes. During the opening reception, RayKo Photo Center offered free supplies for making pinhole images, free image uploads onto the WPPD website, and displays of pinhole cameras as well as your chance to take a class with Jo Babcock himself and learn how to make your own invented camera.

6th Annual International Juried Plastic Camera Show

Exhibition Dates:  03/06/13 - 04/22/13 
Opening Reception:  03/06/13, 6-8pm

RayKo’s 6th Annual Plastic Camera Show included stunning and sometimes surprising images made by the crappy camera-toting winners of this competition (often the cameras themselves are more tape than plastic. Not just being held together with bits of electrical tape and black gaffers tape, but the tape also makes these cheap cameras light tight…not that the light leaks don’t often make the resulting pictures even more interesting). Photographers from all over the Bay Area as well as national and international artists were featured in this dynamic exhibit. Each year we receive thousands of entries and this year was another challenge to select only 90 compelling pieces. Why does the plastic camera continue to be so popular? Is it because the toy camera is a backlash to this digital age of photography? It could be nostalgia for the soft, square pictures with vignetted edges. It could just be nostalgia for film and the latent image- you actually have to wait to see what you shot! Or it could be love of the creak of the cheap plastic dial as you wind it, wondering if it will break off. (Forget Instagram and the rest of them, this is the real deal). It could be too that we all missed the simple freedom of making pictures that aren’t perfect, that don’t have to be sharp or real or saturated or taken with a camera that costs thousands of dollars. All you need is $35 (or less) and a roll of film, and you’re in business. After seeing the exhibit, you may be inspired to start shooting one of these beauties yourself. 

 Thomas Alleman

Thomas Alleman

Also highlighted in this year’s plastic camera exhibit was the work of LA-based artist, Thomas Alleman. He began making “urban landscapes” with a medium-format Holga—a $17 toy camera—in September of 2001, in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His heart was shattered then, and his career was momentarily ruined. In that upside-down time, Alleman truly had nothing better to do than walk all day, every day, in Los Angeles’ many strange neighborhoods, shooting with a camera that couldn’t see straight. The Holga’s many laughable failures are well known and all-encompassing: focus, exposure and parallax are effectively un-controllable, and the plastic lens is always aberrant, cloudy and vignetted. Much to his surprise, however, the freaky results of that technical dysfunction resembled precisely the pictures he’d been dreaming of in those nightmare days. By obliterating the hyper-detailed, documentary specificity that modern multicoated lenses have made commonplace, the Holga’s bizarre optics have given Alleman access to a realm of richly-textured suggestion, impression and allusion that he couldn’t achieve in his earlier attempts at the lyrical landscape, which now seem banal and psychologically barren by comparison.

As Alleman wandered LA’s wide, weird precincts, he had been concerned with certain crucial questions: What does it truly look like here, and why don’t the pictures that we show the world resemble the City he walks in every day? What is the meaning or value of history and authenticity in this transient environment, and what does the “authenticity” we fabricate say about us? What are the hidden codes and messages that are borne in the architecture and arrangement of the built environment? Finally, and above all else: what is his personal, alternate vision of the hackneyed local mythos? Alleman believes this body of work begins to address all those questions, and answers the last one with some conviction: these photographs from “Sunshine and Noir”, using techniques under-explored elsewhere, is a cast-eyed and meandering tone-poem about public space in the last Great American City.

A New Morning: Photographs by Veterans

Side Gallery:  01/17/13 – 02/24/13

jim 2_web.jpg


A New Morning is a workshop for veterans to practice photography. We are creating a new body of photographic work expressing an essential theme linked to the recovery community; an optimistic spirit reflected in the idea of new beginnings. It involves participant artists, who are all military veterans, in sharing their ideas and their work throughout the course of the project.This project was made possible through generous support from the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, The San Francisco Foundation, the LEF Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

San Francisco Days: Documentary Photographs Spanning 30 Years

MAIN GALLERY: 01/17/13 – 02/24/13


Looking from the view out my window on 3rd Street at Harrison, then back to Janet Delaney’s image of the same intersection 30 years ago, I have to look twice because I don’t recognize it. Delaney’s photographs from her project, “Form Follows Finance: A Survey of the South of Market District of San Francisco, 1978-1985” were taken at the cusp of a remarkable transformation. Part of the South of Market area of San Francisco was being altered structurally: a convention center, surrounded by hotels and high-rises, replaced two-story wood-frame buildings that had housed 700 businesses and 5000 residents. An even larger part of the transformation of South of Market has been the restructuring of the use of existing space. As industry moved out, artists moved into the warehouses. As families with children migrated to the suburbs, the gay community moved into the apartments. Along with these newcomers, and in spite of various plans to clear-cut the area for development, South of Market remained a vital mix of immigrant families, small businesses, and light industry.

The historic aspect of photography has always fascinated Delaney. However, she did not intend these large-format color images to be a pretty representation of the past. She wants to emphasize that a closer look will often reveal complexities.

People were moved out, neighborhoods destroyed, jobs lost in the ten block area set aside for the construction of the Moscone Center. The surrounding area documented here was greatly impacted as rents skyrocketed. Trendy restaurants and stores make for a colorful urban scene. Who pays?

Looking out on the city more than 25 years later, the multiple forces that shape urban ecology can be clearly traced. The impact of the recession, the earthquake, the dotcom boom and bust, as well as revised approaches to urban planning have all altered the original intention of the “City Fathers” of the l950s. The hindsight/insight provided by this documentary project gives a perspective on how we perceived the changes we thought were to come. As we look out at the city today we can assess in what form those changes have actually arrived.

Janet Delaney’s photographs prompted me to look at other San Francisco-based documentary photographers whose subject is this iconic city and its residents that we often overlook. “San Francisco Days” depicts our beloved city in distinct ways by eight photojournalists who call her home:

Lou Dematteis is sharing his black and white photographs of the Mission Low Rider Scene from 1979-81, including the violent police crackdown ordered by then Mayor Diane Feinstein that brought an end to it. The photographs were part of the historic exhibit “Otra Onda” curated by Rene Yanez at the Galeria de la Raza in 1981. Photographer/filmmaker Lou Dematteis has lived and worked in San Francisco’s Latino Mission District for over 30-years. His latest project is “The Other Barrio”, a Noir feature film about greed, corruption, the clash of cultures, and justice, shot primarily in the Mission. 

John Harding is a street photographer who lives and works in San Francisco. The photographs on display are from the 1980s and have recently been published in the book Analog Days. Sandra Phillips from SFMOMA wrote an eloquent introduction to this book which will be available during the exhibition.

In 2002, Gabriela Hasbun decided to start documenting some of the Mission’s most colorful establishments. San Francisco’s Mission District has long been the home of the working-class retailer. Between the 1906 earthquake and World War II, Mission Street was proudly known as the “Mission Miracle Mile.” Second only to San Francisco’s Union Square shopping district, Mission Street provided a shopping haven for goods and services of high quality. As a symbol and testament to its name, there were two decorative bridges on each end of Mission Street, beginning on 16th street and ending on Cesar Chavez.

The Mission has historically been a neighborhood for the immigrant, and to this day the “Miracle Mile” holds true to this tradition. Jewish, Irish, Italian, and Hispanic families reside and work in this area. The neighborhood is now changing dramatically. Since the early 2000’s, the area has seen a large influx of coffee shops, boutiques and pricey restaurants that are making the Mission popular to young tech entrepreneurs.

This series of images hopes to capture the essence of the small businesses that have been in the neighborhood for over 30 years. JJ O’Connor Florists, an establishment that came to Mission Street over a hundred years ago, was among the oldest in this tradition and one of the many Gabriela has been lucky to photograph. Sadly, it shut down, as have many of the others that are documented in this series.

In 2008, when André Hermann was exploring the old Washington Packing Corp building he surprised a group of homeless scrappers, or metal thieves, who were stripping what was left of the building for any metal scrap that they could sell for a profit. This encounter developed into a very interesting 6-month experience for Hermann. He developed a relationship with the men and spent all of his time under a freeway in a homeless camp, eating and scrapping with a very dynamic community who’s only interest was to survive.

We’ve all seen pictures of rock and roll, but Michael Jang’s “Garage Band” documents where it really starts, with teenagers. These kids are so young–14, 15 years old–that they can’t go out to clubs or anywhere else to play. Instead, they do the only thing they can and create their own scene in their parents’ garages.

In the mid-1980s, we called it Tire Beach, the bay near Pier 70 in San Francisco. Mimi Plumb photographed there regularly. The bay and the beach were filled with thousands and thousands of rotting tires, and other fragments of civilization – televisions, bullet-ridden cars, bed frames and broken chairs. The pier off to the right, the Western Pacific Railroad 25th Street Pier, was vacant and dilapidated. It had once been a busy ferry landing in the 1950s. One day the pier caught fire, and Plumb along with hundreds of others watched it burn to its cement foundation. She hasn’t been back for years although Tire Beach now has the official name of Warm Cove Park.

And no San Francisco story would be complete without the Tenderloin. Andrei Riskin’s images were inspired by the story of Scott Vincent, a run-away, who spent his early teens there. Because of changes in San Francisco’s demographics as well as the emergence of AIDS, Polk Street was transformed from a “Red lights district” in the 80′s and 90′s into an affordable housing neighborhood with a few bars, liquor stores and fetish shops. These images are part of “Polk Street Project”, which is a reminiscence of what the place used to be.