"Common ground," the concept, seems like a mythical, unoccupied realm in these divisive times. Common Ground, the book, reminds us there are meaningful ties that connect us to each other and our communities. The story follows two families living on the same plot of land, but many years apart. Juxtaposed photos limn the commonalities that bind these families across space and time. Longtime farmers Harlow and Jean Cagwin sold their land, after decades of ownership, to a developer who turned it into a subdivision. Then Grabenhofers, with their four children, bought a home on the site where the Cagwin's farmhouse once stood.

Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, Scott Strazzante, captures the simple yet profound moments that show how these two families who seem to live worlds apart nevertheless share a common bond . . . a common experience . . . a common ground - as, indeed, we all do. Maybe more so than we realize.

"...the book's unique strength is as a document about the past and present, the transformation of the American landscape and, as the title suggests, the human story that remains constant and connected through time, lying in the side-by-side or back-to-back pairings of small moments in these families' lives." - Evelyn Nieves / Lens / The New York Times

Upcoming Shows

December 3, 2014 - January 3, 2015

Opening Reception: December 3, 6-8pm


Main Gallery

New works by RayKo's fall Artists-in-Residence: Vanessa Marsh and Jessica Skloven

Vanessa Marsh

Vanessa Marsh

Jessica Skloven

Jessica Skloven

RayKo Photo Center’s Residence Program was developed to continue our support and education of fine art photographers. Selected artists receive unlimited access to RayKo’s facilities for a six-month time period, with each artist's residency culminating in an exhibition in our gallery. Past residents have included Eric William Carroll, Klea McKenna, and Meghann Riepenhoff. This fall’s residents continue on the path less taken. Both Vanessa Marsh and Jessica Skloven have spent countless hours in our color darkrooms making chromogenic prints, a process and a skill that many have forsaken in this digital age of photography.

Vanessa Marsh actually goes so far as to make her own negatives…painting and drawing on layers of acetate and paper and film and combining them all in the darkroom to create large nighttime landscapes inspired by an amateur interest in cosmology and physics. These dark skies with saturated celestial patterns of invented galaxies and nebula speak to our mediated experience of the night sky and nature in general. Colors, assigned to gasses and light waves that the naked eye cannot see, are presented and consumed as truth. Giant mural c-prints of these invented scenes build on Vanessa’s interest in translating drawings and paintings into photographic form.

Jessica Skloven is exposing 4x5 sheets of color film…but not in any traditional manner. She slips the sheets of film under the covers, under pillows, in between sheets…these images are created without the confines of a camera, without control and without the essential aspect of what makes a correct photograph – focused light. They are made sometimes over long periods of time, buried deep under layers, being exposed with tiny light from dark windows and ambient spills from careless LCD screens. In many cases, they are failures, images built up too densely to view or left for too little time without enough light to imprint them. The process is one embedded in ritual. Perhaps an exercise in anti-documenting, these are photographs as uncertain objects, records of instability in an attempt to pin down a constant.

They are just slow light leaking onto plastic.

Jessica’s work centers around the material relationship between the illusions that occur in the natural world and those that are produced—both in the act of photographing and in the re-constitution of those images when they are transferred to paper. Using photographic process, she imagines the simultaneous impossibility of the abstract and the familiarity of the real, precariously combining to counter photography’s often-presumed objectivity. The resulting c-prints are sublime and sensual, drawing the viewer into their mysteries.

Come view these two dynamic artists’ images and question the future and the direction of photography all over again.


Also, 2013 Artist-in-Residence McNair Evans will be at RayKo during the reception signing copies of his new monograph.



98 pages
47 color photographs
Various ephemera
7.75 x 10"
Four color offset printing
Case bound, smythe sewn

ISBN 978-0-692-24482-1

Publication date: October 2014

Edition of 750

Unsigned - $49.95 USD
Signed - $69.95 USD 


Side Gallery

City College of San Francisco's portfolio class

Ruishan Hung

Ruishan Hung

While color palette or technical prowess might attract a viewer’s eye, it’s often the 
suggestion of a story, or an intrigue about the artist as a person that holds an 
onlooker’s attention. A solid portfolio does just that: showcases skill, while giving a 
glimpse of the artist’s character. Images must each be of high quality, and must 
interact in such a way that cohesion is formed. 

Come view selections from the City College of San Francisco's portfolio class and meet the artists on opening night!