2014.10.05.12-45-31 - Version 2

San Francisco 2015

The Windowpane Photographs


Cities are, by their nature, in a constant state of change. There are times when the rate of change is very rapid, and the transformation process vividly unfolds. This is one of those times for San Francisco: the urban core of the city is becoming more urban, gentrification of ethnic and working class neighborhoods has accelerated. The city's population is becoming younger and wealthier while working class ethnic neighborhoods are transforming into hip enclaves of young urbanites.

Construction sites abound; the shops are filled with visual and culinary delights; theaters reverberate with music, dance, drama, and film; the streets are bustling with attractive young people of many colors. San Francisco is a diverse, vibrant, dynamic city: the urban playground of the waterfront, the retail opulence of Union Square, the LGBTQ mecca of the Castro, the ethnic flavors of Chinatown and the Mission, the museum neighborhood of North Beach (the Italians moved to Marin County long ago, and the Beats have faded away), the rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods of Hayes Valley, the Mission, and the Mid-Market skid row, the poverty and desperation of the Tenderloin. San Francisco is a city that holds the contrasts of extreme wealth and pervasive homelessness, high culture and high technology, progressive politics and libertarian capitalism. San Francisco is a city with great natural beauty, and a wealth of human creativity. It is one of the world's great cities and, like all great cities, is characterized by its many, often contradictory, facets, and by persistent change.

My intent, with these photographs, is to express the kaleidoscopic experience of the urban environment, and the many diverse facets of this unique American city, at this point in its history. I am using a technique that I call windowpane which provides an ideal medium of expression for this subject, using the reflection/refraction of window glass to create spatially and semiotically rich photographic images, captured spontaneously and serendipitously in the tradition of the flaneur.

For this project, I am using two very different cameras: an iPhone and a digital SLR. These galleries contain a sampling of windowpane photographs taken in 2014-2015. Gallery 1 images were taken with an iPhone 5s camera and the Gallery 2 images with a Nikon DSLR.